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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Amnesty International political?

Amnesty International has no political affiliation, endorses no political party, accepts no funds from governments or any political party. Amnesty International is independent of any government, political persuasion or religious creed. It does not support or oppose any government or political system, nor does it support or oppose the views of the victims whose rights it seeks to protect. It is concerned solely with the protection of the human rights involved in each case, regardless of the ideology of the government, opposition forces or the beliefs of the individual. Its independence is recognised through its observer status with the United Nations and regional inter-governmental organisations. Amnesty International does not grade countries according to their human rights record; instead of attempting comparisons it concentrates on trying to end specific violations of human rights.

How does Amnesty International carry out its work?

All our campaigning and research is fact-based. Our activities include monitoring global and local media, publishing detailed reports, informing the media, and publicising our concerns in documents, leaflets, posters, advertisements, newsletters and websites. We help stop human rights abuses by mobilising the public to put pressure on governments, armed political groups, companies and inter-governmental bodies. Our mobilisation methods include public demonstrations, letter-writing campaigns, lobbying decision-makers, petitions and human rights education.

How is AI governed?

Amnesty International’s policies and plans are discussed and decided at the annual general meeting of the membership in each country and at meetings of their elected representatives every two years at the International Council. At the International Council meeting, the International Executive Committee (IEC) is elected. The IEC provides guidance and leadership for the Amnesty International movement worldwide and meets regularly throughout the year and appoints and directs Amnesty International's Secretary General. The latter is responsible for the day-to-day conduct of the international movement, acting as the movement’s chief spokesperson, its chief political adviser and chief executive officer of the International Secretariat.

Is Amnesty International effective?

We have a record of real achievement. We know this because the people we try to help tell us that our pressure has had an effect on their own lives and because at key times governments are persuaded to change their laws and practices. Our international solidarity helps keep hope alive locally.

Who finances Amnesty International's work?

Most of our income comes from individual contributors around the world. These personal and unaffiliated donations allow AI to maintain full independence from governments, political ideologies, economic interests or religions. We neither seek nor accept any funds for human rights research from governments or political parties and we accept support only from businesses that have been carefully vetted.

How does Amnesty International get its information?

Our research teams focus on particular countries and themes and investigate reports of human rights abuses, corroborating information from a wide range of sources and contacts. They monitor newspapers, websites and other media outlets. Amnesty International often sends fact-finding missions to assess matters on the spot. We also receive information from many sources, including from prisoners, human rights defenders and others who suffer human rights abuses; lawyers and journalists; refugees; religious bodies and community workers; diplomats; and humanitarian agencies.

How does Amnesty International ensure it has the facts right?

Before any statement, publication or report is issued, its text is closely reviewed to ensure it is factually accurate, politically impartial and consistent with Amnesty International's mission. When Amnesty International deals with allegations rather than undisputed facts, it makes this clear in its findings and may call for an investigation. If Amnesty International makes a mistake, it issues a correction. Consequently, Amnesty International's research is globally recognised for its reliability. We are consulted widely including by governments, inter-governmental organisations, journalists, scholars and other human rights organisations and campaigning groups.

How does Amnesty International obtain information about closed countries?

If Amnesty International staff are denied official access to a country, research teams may have to rely on sources of information outside the country, including news reports, experts, refugees, diplomatic representatives and human rights defenders.