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The US Prepares to Abandon WIPO Whistleblowers

Tom Devine Posted by Tom Devine.

Tom Devine is legal director of the Government Accountability Project, where he has worked to assist thousands of whistleblowers to come forward and has been involved in the all of the campaigns to pass or defend major whistleblower laws over the last two decades.


The legal counsel to the Staff Council at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIIPO) has written a strongly worded letter to all Ambassadors at the United Nations s....

The legal counsel to the Staff Council at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIIPO) has written a strongly worded letter to all Ambassadors at the United Nations specialized agency, headquartered in Geneva. (link to letter here).

The letter is a reaction to the apparent decision of Member States at WIPO to leave Francis Gurry, the WIPO Director General, in place, despite the findings of an internal investigation that reveal Gurry’s violation of the agency’s procurement regulations. As the result of Gurry’s improper intervention an acquaintance secured a contract to do sensitive IT work at WIPO for a price that far exceeded that proposed by other bidders. The investigation was prompted by WIPO whistleblowers’ disclosures, and now the whistleblowers who remain on the staff are exposed to retaliation.

For its part, the US delegation is prepared to leave Gurry in place, GAP has learned from three separate sources.

At the UN, the US pioneered whistleblower protections and strongly advocated other good-governance policies. The position the US apparently adopted in this case is inexplicable and profoundly disappointing, and GAP calls upon the mission to take a strong stand for the removal of Francis Gurry.

Author: 
Bea Edwards