In theory the United Nations cherishes and protects whistleblowers. In practice, a clubby atmosphere prevails in which dissent counts as disloyalty. Now the UN’s highest tribunal has vindicated a victim of official harrassment.
James Wasserstrom (pictured), was posted to Kosovo to fight corruption. In 2007 he started raising concerns about what he saw as misconduct involving links between UN officials and a local utility company. His worries were ignored. After he complained to the UN’s oversight office, he says, his boss cut his staff, in effect abolishing his job, and had him investigated for misconduct. That culminated in his detention, the search of his house and car, and other indignities.