Guest Post: The United Nations, Post-Conflict Societies, and Whistleblower Protection — Understanding the Connections

Ambassador Ugljesa Ugi Zvekic, Former Permanent Representative of the Republic of Serbia to the United Nations Senior Adviser and currently Adjunct Professor at LUISS School of Government in Rome, contributes the following guest post, which is based on research conducted by Ambassador Zvekic’s students Giorgio Sirtori, Alessandro Sabbini, and Alessandro Dowling:

Post-conflict countries are breeding grounds for corruption, due to the combination of weak (or non-existent) institutions, the chaos generated by both the previous conflict, the willingness of international interveners (and donors) to tolerate corruption as the price of stability. Indeed, of the sixteen ongoing international peacekeeping operations across the globe, almost all of these operations take place in some of the most corrupt areas of the world. While it is tempting to say that tackling corruption can and should be left to a later time, after basic needs have been met and basic rights have been guaranteed. But in fact our research, including case studies on international peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and Kosovo, reveals that corruption jeopardizes peacekeeping and state-building operations per se, and, consequently, it is vital to incorporate anticorruption efforts at the earliest stages of these kinds of operations.

Given the importance of anticorruption measures in state-building and peacekeeping operations, one issue that should be high up in the agenda of the United Nations is that of whistleblower protection. However, the UN’s own policy on internal whistleblowers has been disappointing, and jeopardizes the UN’s efforts to fight corruption and to promote accountability in post-conflict settings. Continue reading