Image Credit: Debra Sweet

September 14, 2015; The Guardian

The life of a whistleblower is anything but easy. In many governmental and corporate offices, they are ostracized and harassed by their peers and superiors, but the stories of whistleblowers at the United Nations are quite distinctive. Caroline Hunt-Matthes had been an investigator for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As reported by the Government Accountability Project, Hunt-Matthes had made several protected disclosures through internal UNHCR processes, “including interference/obstruction in an investigation of the rape of a UN staff member in Sri Lanka by a UNHCR staff member (the rape was subsequently confirmed); her supervisor’s decision to investigate a colleague without disclosing to him that he was under investigation; the organization’s failure to register a sexual harassment complaint against the High Commissioner (subsequently confirmed); and the unlawful detention of refugees by senior UNHCR staff, leading to the death of a refugee while in detention.” As a reward for her disclosures, Hunt-Matthes was fired by email while she was on medical leave.

The UN Dispute Tribunal ruled that Hunt-Matthes had followed appropriate protocol in reporting what she learned and that her