Majlis approves Whistleblower Protection Bill

Majlis approves Whistleblower Protection Bill

Parliament has on Tuesday passed the Whistleblower Protection Bill.

70 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, proposed by South-Galolhu constituency MP and deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla.

The parliament accepted the bill on July 17, and was sent to the committee on independent institutions for further review. The committee took over two months to complete the review, and send its report to the parliament floor.

Reading out the report, committee chair and Maradhoo constituency MP Ibrahim Shareef highlighted that had “sought public opinion and consulted experts” when reviewing the bill.

While there was one amendment proposed to the committee report, it was passed with the vote of 63 lawmakers.

The Whistleblower Protection Bill proposes to establish laws that would empower and protect whistleblowers and investigate their claims.

It defines whistleblowing as exposing acts of corruption and criminal behavior, acts that violate international human rights laws, dangers to public health and the environment, state graft, miscarriages of justice, and mismanagement or misuse of resources.

The bill states that whistleblowers are to be protected from civil and criminal lawsuits, administrative action, and have their personal information kept hidden. Revealing a whistleblower’s personal information will result in a sentence of three months to five years.

While independent institutions’ committee had made several changes to the bill, the biggest one is to establish a “Whistleblower Protection Unit” at the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM).

Committee member and Addu-Meedhoo constituency MP Rozaina Adam said that the unit will work independently despite being under HRCM and that the main purpose of creating the unit is to provide an independent body to ensure protection of whistleblowers.