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Presidency hails passing of law to protect whistleblowers

The government on Friday lauded parliament for passing a law to protect whistleblowers, which was hailed by MPs as an important step in cracking down on corruption in the public sector.

The law affords state protection to people reporting corruption in the private and public sectors. Whistleblowers cannot be sacked, or demoted, and will be protected by police if threatened.

A statement released on Friday by the presidency said the law will contribute to enhancing transparency and address possible cases of corruption.

“These are important reforms which will make a decisive contribution to tackling corruption and promoting transparency and accountability, consolidating the rule of law in our country,” the statement said.

“We also expect parliament to proceed soon with the adoption of other important bills concerning the reform of the judiciary and the establishment of the Independent Anti-Corruption Authority.”

The legislation passed with 49 votes for and one against. The single vote against was cast by Limassol MP Andreas Themistocleous.

Discussions on ‘The protection of persons who report violations of EU law and national Law of 2022’ legislation date back to 2016.

Parliament also received praise from the Fimonoi Foundation, an NGO representing Cyprus in the Whistleblowing International Network (WIN).

“The law has been the subject of discussions in the House since 2016 and its passing represents a win for all of us,” the NGO said.

“We were also very happy to see that the political parties and the government were able to leave behind party differences and work together towards a very important goal.

“Cyprus is now one of only seven European countries that have passed a law on the protection of whistleblowers,” it said.

The new law mainly covers the reporting of instances where violations of the law jeopardise, or may jeopardise, the safety or health of any person, as well as violations that cause, or may cause, damage to the environment.

It covers not only the person doing the reporting, but also third parties connected to that person who may suffer reprisals.

Legal entities governed by either public or private law must set in place channels and processes for the in-house reporting of violations.

Moreover, such entities, as well as public authorities that receive the reports, have a legal obligation to preserve whistleblowers’ anonymity.

In addition, it becomes a criminal offence to obstruct the filing of a report, to take any reprisals against the person reporting, or to renege on the obligation to protect a whistleblower’s anonymity.

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