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ECOWAS to Promote the Culture of Whistle Blowers’ Protection

The ECOWAS Commission has pledged to continue to promote and sustain a culture whereby whistleblowers on corruption in the region are protected at all times.

The assurances were given at the Advocacy and Sensitization Meeting on ECOWAS Whistleblower Protection Strategy which ended in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on the 8th of March 2017.

At the Abidjan meeting, stakeholders and participants called among others, for the expansion of ECOWAS Whistle Blowers strategy into a supplementary arm of the ECOWAS Protocol on the Fight against Corruption.

The meeting sensitized Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Media practitioners, Security agencies and operational staff of national anti-corruption institutions in Cote d’Ivoire on the ECOWAS Whistleblower Protection Strategy and the need for a robust advocacy towards the enactment of a stand-alone law on whistleblower protection in Cote d’Ivoire.

Noting the various gaps in the legal disposition for the protection of whistle-blowers among other challenges, stakeholders at the meeting condemned in strong terms the various forms of retaliation including harassment, intimidation, and physical attacks meted out to whistleblowers and media practitioners.

Acknowledging the increasing role of the parliament in the fight against corruption, participants urged ECOWAS to facilitate the establishment of a regional network of parliamentarians for the in the region’s anti-corruption war.

They called on the government of Cote d’Ivoire to urgently invest the High Authority for Good governance with prosecutory power with a view to conducting investigation and eventually prosecuting corruption cases in Cote d’Ivoire.

Also stressed was the enhancement of the capacity of media practitioners on whistleblowing and investigative journalism in Cote d’Ivoire while invited them to make use of the Nobert Zongo Centre in Burkina Faso in this direction.

Before the meeting ended, the African Development Bank expressed its commitment to support Network of Anti-Corruption Institutions in West Africa and ECOWAS Civil Society Organizations Platform on Transparency and Accountability in Governance (ECSOPTAG), in accordance with its policy, to implement their strategic regional programs geared towards fostering integrity governance in ECOWAS Member States.

The Cote d’Ivoire Chapter of ECSOPTAG was launched after participants underscored the need to review national legislation and jurisprudence in Member States while incorporating modern measures to address the increasingly volatile nature of corruption in the region.

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