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U.N. whistleblower ‘treated like a criminal’

Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch reported Tuesday on a U.N. disputes tribunal that awarded $65,000 in compensation to an American whistleblower who was wrongly fired and banned from U.N. property, just a fraction of his $3.8 million request.

James Wasserstrom was forced from his U.N. job in Kosovo after cooperating in an internal investigation of corruption by U.N. officials. He was ‘stripped of his U.N. passport and treated like a criminal by his U.N. bosses,’ the story said.

Wasserstrom said his case exposed the weaknesses of ‘the U.N. Ethics Office, the whistleblower protection machinery, and the internal justice system of the U.N.’ 

His advice to would-be U.N. whistleblowers: ‘Do so at your own risk. You have absolutely no protection. And those who retaliate against you suffer no consequences.’

Foreign Policy said the U.N. didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Wasserstrom, a 27-year career U.N. diplomat, was detained by U.N. police, his home was searched, and his office was cordoned off with police tape. The U.N. internally circulated posters with his photo advising that he was banned from entering any U.N. facilities, the story said.

In Wasserstrom’s retaliation claim, the judge awarded just $50,000 in compensation for the mistreatment and $15,000 in legal fees.

Wasserstrom said the award didn’t come close to compensating him ‘for five years of legal battles and expenses and the degrading treatment he endured.’

The full story in Foreign Policy is here.

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