97 Facts About Amnesty International


Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organization focused on human rights, with its headquarters in the United Kingdom.

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Amnesty International was founded in London in 1961, following the publication of the article "The Forgotten Prisoners" in The Observer on 28 May 1961, by the lawyer Peter Benenson.

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Amnesty International was founded in London in July 1961 by English barrister Peter Benenson, who had previously been a founding member of the UK law reform organisation JUSTICE.

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In 1966, Benenson suspected that the British government in collusion with some Amnesty International employees had suppressed a report on British atrocities in Aden.

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Amnesty International began to suspect that many of his colleagues were part of a British intelligence conspiracy to subvert Amnesty, but he could not convince anybody else at AI.

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Amnesty International believed that the reasons underlying torture of prisoners by governments were either to acquire and obtain information or to quell opposition by the use of terror, or both.

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Amnesty International drew together reports from countries where torture allegations seemed most persistent and organized an international conference on torture.

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At the intergovernmental level Amnesty International pressed for the application of the UN's Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and of existing humanitarian conventions; to secure ratifications of the two UN Covenants on Human Rights in 1976, and was instrumental in obtaining additional instruments and provisions forbidding the practice of maltreatment.

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The Soviet Union alleged that Amnesty International conducted espionage, the Moroccan government denounced it as a defender of lawbreakers, and the Argentinian government banned Amnesty International's 1983 annual report.

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Amnesty International continued to work on a wide range of issues and world events.

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Amnesty International took no position on whether to support or oppose external military interventions in these armed conflicts.

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Salil Shetty, the director of Amnesty International, said, "Social media re-energises the idea of the global citizen".

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Amnesty International was proactive in pushing for recognition of the universality of human rights.

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At the intergovernmental level, Amnesty International argued in favour of creating a United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and an International Criminal Court .

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Amnesty International felt this shift was important, not just to give credence to its principle of the indivisibility of rights, but because of what it saw as the growing power of companies and the undermining of many nation-states as a result of globalization.

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Amnesty International argued that human rights were the basis for the security of all, not a barrier to it.

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Amnesty International reported, concerning the Iraq War, on 17 March 2008, that despite claims the security situation in Iraq has improved in recent months, the human rights situation is disastrous, after the start of the war five years earlier in 2003.

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The 117-page Amnesty International report charged Israeli forces with killing hundreds of civilians and wanton destruction of thousands of homes.

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Amnesty International found evidence of Israeli soldiers using Palestinian civilians as human shields.

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In February 2010, Amnesty International suspended Gita Sahgal, its gender unit head, after she criticized Amnesty International for its links with Moazzam Begg, director of Cageprisoners.

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Amnesty International's said it was "a gross error of judgment" to work with "Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban".

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In February 2011, Amnesty requested that Swiss authorities start a criminal investigation of former US President George W Bush and arrest him.

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In July 2011, Amnesty International celebrated its 50 years with an animated short film directed by Carlos Lascano, produced by Eallin Motion Art and Dreamlife Studio, with music by Academy Award-winner Hans Zimmer and nominee Lorne Balfe.

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In November 2012, Amnesty International initiated disciplinary proceedings against Kirstyan Benedict, one of its UK campaigns managers, for a tweet singling out three female Jewish MPs in a manner that critics asserted was antisemitic; Benedict defended the tweet as a joke.

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On 18 August 2014, in the wake of demonstrations sparked by people protesting the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old man, and subsequent acquittal of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot him, Amnesty International sent a 13-person contingent of human rights activists to seek meetings with officials as well as to train local activists in non-violent protest methods.

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In February 2016, Amnesty International launched its annual report of human rights around the world titled "The State of the World's Human Rights".

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In June 2016, Amnesty International has called on the United Nations General Assembly to "immediately suspend" Saudi Arabia from the UN Human Rights Council.

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In November 2016, Amnesty International conducted an internal investigation of Kirstyan Benedict, its UK campaign manager, for comparing Israel to the Islamic state.

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In December 2016, Amnesty International revealed that Voiceless Victims, a fake non-profit organization which claims to raise awareness for migrant workers who are victims of human rights abuses in Qatar, had been trying to spy on their staff.

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Amnesty International'stty drew attention, among many issues, to the Syrian Civil War, the use of chemical weapons in the War in Darfur, outgoing United States President Barack Obama's expansion of drone warfare, and the successful 2016 presidential election campaign of Obama's successor Donald Trump.

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Amnesty International supported the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

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In October 2018, an Amnesty International researcher was abducted and beaten while observing demonstrations in Magas, the capital of Ingushetia, Russia.

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Employees and supporters of Amnesty International say this is an act to intimidate organizations and people who question the authority and capabilities of government leaders.

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Amnesty International received permission only once in Dec 2000, since then it had been denied Foreign Contribution permission under the Foreign Contribution Act by successive Governments.

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However, in order to circumvent the FCRA regulations, Amnesty International UK remitted large amounts of money to four entities registered in India by classifying it as Foreign Direct Investment .

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On 30 October 2018, Amnesty International called for the arrest and prosecution of Nigerian security forces claiming that they used excessive force against Shi'a protesters during a peaceful religious procession around Abuja, Nigeria.

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In November 2018, Amnesty International reported the arrest of 19 or more rights activists and lawyers in Egypt.

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Amnesty International reported that following the arrests Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms decided to suspend its activities due to the hostile environment towards civil society in the country.

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On 5 December 2018, Amnesty International strongly condemned the execution of Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnoy in Belarus.

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On 14 May 2019, Amnesty International filed a petition with the District Court of Tel Aviv, Israel, seeking a revocation of the export licence of surveillance technology firm NSO Group.

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Amnesty International accused the European Union of "using the framing of the far right" by linking migration with security.

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Amnesty International's has been on the Board since 2015 and at age 34 is the youngest IB Chair in its history.

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Amnesty International's is a human rights lawyer in her homeland.

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Amnesty International investigated what it called "excessive" and "unlawful" killings of teenagers by Angolan police who were enforcing restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

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In September 2020, Amnesty International shut down its India operations after the government froze its bank accounts due to alleged financial irregularities.

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On 29 October 2020, Amnesty International launched a human rights learning application called "Amnesty Academy".

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On 2 November 2020, Amnesty International reported that 54 people – mostly Amhara women and children and elderly people – were killed by the OLF in the village of Gawa Qanqa, Ethiopia.

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In June 2021, Amnesty International accused the Chinese government of committing crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

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In February 2022, Amnesty International accused Israel of committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinians, joining other human rights organizations that had previously accused Israel of the crime against humanity.

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An Amnesty International report stated that Israel maintains "an institutionalized regime of oppression and domination of the Palestinian population for the benefit of Jewish Israelis".

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The Israeli Foreign Ministry stated that Amnesty International was peddling "lies, inconsistencies, and unfounded assertions that originate from well-known anti-Israeli hate organisations".

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Amnesty International is largely made up of voluntary members but retains a small number of paid professionals.

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In countries in which Amnesty International has a strong presence, members are organized as "sections".

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The Amnesty International Board meets at least two times during any one year and in practice meets face to face at least four times a year.

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Core principle of Amnesty International is a focus on prisoners of conscience, those persons imprisoned or prevented from expressing an opinion by means of violence.

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Amnesty International opposes capital punishment in all cases, regardless of the crime committed, the circumstances surrounding the individual or the method of execution.

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Amnesty International's vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.

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In pursuit of this vision, Amnesty International's mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights.

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Amnesty International launched a free human rights learning mobile application called Amnesty Academy in October 2020.

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Amnesty International's country focus is similar to that of some other comparable NGOs, notably Human Rights Watch: between 1991 and 2000, Amnesty International and HRW shared eight of ten countries in their "top ten" .

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Amnesty International is financed largely by fees and donations from its worldwide membership.

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Criticism of Amnesty International includes claims of excessive pay for management, underprotection of overseas staff, associating with organizations with a dubious record on human rights protection, selection bias, ideological and foreign policy bias against either non-Western countries or Western-supported countries, or bias for terrorist groups.

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The actions of these governments, and of other governments critical of Amnesty International, have been the subject of human rights concerns voiced by Amnesty.

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The report stated that Amnesty International had a toxic work culture and that workers frequently cited mental and physical health issues as a result of their work for the organization.

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The report found that: "39 per cent of Amnesty International staff reported that they developed mental or physical health issues as the direct result of working at Amnesty".

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Since the days of Salil Shetty, when top management were being paid fabulous salaries, Amnesty International has become a multinational where the staff are seen as dispensable.

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Unite, which represents Amnesty International's staff, feared that cuts would fall heaviest on lower-income staff.

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Amnesty International stated that Armitt "oversees financial management at the International Secretariat and is responsible for supporting and fostering the organisation's financial literacy and capability".

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Amnesty International stated that the payout to Motoo's family "will not be made from donations or membership fees".

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Staff at the Amnesty International UK based in London made claims of racial discrimination.

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Moscow City court, to which Sotov's claim was filed, ruled that Sotov's dismissal was illegal: Amnesty International alleged the reason for his dismissal was absence from their office despite the fact that he was for several years a remote worker.

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Amnesty International apologised for "poor timing" which had allowed the Kremlin to "weaponise" the controversy against Navalny's supporters.

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An anonymous Amnesty International employee stated he believed a propaganda campaign was allegedly organized against Navalny, by making his previous controversial comments more prominent.

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Amnesty International's decision was described by western media as "a huge victory for Russian state propaganda" which undermined Amnesty International's support of Navalny's release.

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Amnesty International intended to assist people fleeing across the border from neighbouring South Africa, but not those who were actively engaged in the struggle against apartheid.

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Amnesty International refused to publish the report; according to Benenson, Amnesty International general-secretary Robert Swann had suppressed it in deference to the Foreign Office.

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Amnesty International held the Swedish complaint as long as they could simply because Peter Benenson did not want to do anything to hurt a Labour government.

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Amnesty International then said that British government agents had infiltrated Amnesty and suppress the report's publication.

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Amnesty International then resigned, claiming that British and American intelligence agents had infiltrated Amnesty and subverted its values.

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Amnesty International suspended Gita Sahgal, its gender unit head, after she criticized Amnesty in February 2010 for its high-profile associations with Moazzam Begg, the director of Cageprisoners, representing men in extrajudicial detention.

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Amnesty International's said she repeatedly brought the matter up with Amnesty for two years, to no avail.

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Sahgal issued a statement saying she felt that Amnesty International was risking its reputation by associating with and thereby politically legitimizing Begg, because Cageprisoners "actively promotes Islamic Right ideas and individuals".

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Amnesty International's was interviewed on the US National Public Radio on 27 February 2010, where she discussed the activities of Cageprisoners and why she deemed it inappropriate for Amnesty to associate with Begg.

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Amnesty International's said that Cageprisoners' Asim Qureshi spoke supporting global jihad at a Hizb ut-Tahrir rally.

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Amnesty International's stated that a best-seller at Begg's bookshop was a book by Abdullah Azzam, a mentor of Osama bin Laden and a founder of the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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Amnesty International's said that Begg's bookshop had published The Army of Madinah, which she characterized as a jihad manual by Dhiren Barot.

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The hunger strikers have spoken out about "delaying tactics" by Amnesty International, and being denied access to toilets during the occupation, despite this being a human right.

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Amnesty International's said she was volunteering in a local hospital when Iraqi soldiers stole the incubators with children in them and left them to freeze to death.

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Amnesty International, which had human rights investigators in Kuwait, confirmed the story and helped spread it.

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On 4 August 2022, during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Amnesty International published a report accusing the Armed Forces of Ukraine of endangering civilians through their combat tactics, particularly stating that Ukraine had set up military bases in residential areas and launched attacks from populated civilian areas.

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Oksana Pokalchuk, leader of Amnesty International Ukraine, said that the report "was compiled by foreign observers, without any assistance from local staff".

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Amnesty International's resigned from her post and left the organization following the publication of the report.

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Report sparked outrage in Ukraine and the West: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Amnesty International of trying to “amnesty the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim”, while Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba stated that the report creates "a false balance between the oppressor and the victim".

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In 1977, Amnesty International was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "having contributed to securing the ground for freedom, for justice, and thereby for peace in the world".

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In 1984, Amnesty International received the Four Freedoms Award in the category of Freedom of Speech.

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In 1991, Amnesty International was awarded the journalistic prize Golden Doves for Peace by the "Archivio Disarmo" Research Center in Italy.

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Conspiracy of Hope was a short tour of six benefit concerts on behalf of Amnesty International that took place in the United States during June 1986.

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