The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights stresses the importance of whistle-blowing for promoting good governance, privacy, freedom of speech and the fight against corruption, including in the fields of national security and intelligence.
It welcomes the adoption, by the Committee of Ministers, of Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 calling on member States to create an appropriate normative, judicial and institutional framework for the protection of whistle-blowers.
In view of the disclosures concerning mass surveillance and intrusions of privacy carried out by the United States National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies, which affect communications of numerous persons who are not suspected of any wrongdoing, the committee considers that whistle-blower protection measures should cover all individuals who denounce wrongdoings which place fellow human beings at risk of violations of their rights protected under the European Convention on Human Rights, including persons working for national security or intelligence agencies.
Given the importance of whistle-blowing to ensure that legal limits placed on mass surveillance are respected and the international ramifications of whistle-blowing in the field of national security or intelligence, whistle-blowers (including employees of relevant government agencies or private contractors), whose disclosures are otherwise in line with Resolution 1729 (2010), Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 or the Tshwane Principles as supported by Resolution 1954 (2013), should be granted asylum in a member State of the Council of Europe when they are persecuted in their home country.
“the signalling by a civil servant or an employee in the public sector of illegal conduct or wrongdoing in the workplace should, in certain circumstances, enjoy protection. This may be called for where the employee or civil servant concerned is the only person, or part of a small category of persons, aware of what is happening at work and is thus best placed to act in the public interest by alerting the employer or the public at large”.Note