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Main article: "Criticism of Amnesty International

Criticism of Amnesty International includes claims of excessive pay for management, underprotection of overseas staff, associating with organisations with a dubious record on human rights protection, "selection bias, "ideological/foreign policy bias against either non-"Western countries[84] or "Western-supported countries, and criticism of Amnesty's policies relating to abortion.[85][86]

Governments and their supporters have criticised Amnesty's criticism of their policies, including those of "Australia,[87] "Czech Republic,[88] "China,[89] "Democratic Republic of the Congo,[90] "India, "Iran, "Israel,[75] "Qatar,[91] "Saudi Arabia,[92] "Vietnam,[93] "Russia[94] and the "United States,[95] for what they assert is one-sided reporting or a failure to treat threats to security as a mitigating factor. The actions of these governments — and of other governments critical of Amnesty International — have been the subject of human rights concerns voiced by Amnesty.

CAGE controversy[edit]

In February 2010, Amnesty International suspended "Gita Sahgal, its gender unit head, after she criticised Amnesty for its high-profile associations with "Moazzam Begg, the director of "Cageprisoners, representing men in extrajudicial detention.[96][97] "To be appearing on platforms with Britain’s most famous supporter of the "Taliban, Begg, whom we treat as a human rights defender, is a gross error of judgment," she said.[96][98] Sahgal argued that by associating with Begg and Cageprisoners, Amnesty was risking its reputation on human rights.[96][99][100][101] "As a former Guantanamo detainee, it was legitimate to hear his experiences, but as a supporter of the Taliban it was absolutely wrong to legitimise him as a partner,” Sahgal said.[96] She said she repeatedly brought the matter up with Amnesty for two years, to no avail.[102] A few hours after the article was published, Saghal was suspended from her position.[103] Amnesty's Senior Director of Law and Policy, Widney Brown, later said Sahgal raised concerns about Begg and Cageprisoners to her personally for the first time a few days before sharing them with the Sunday Times.[102]

Sahgal issued a statement saying she felt that Amnesty was risking its reputation by associating with and thereby politically legitimising Begg, because Cageprisoners "actively promotes Islamic Right ideas and individuals".[103] She said the issue was not about Begg's "freedom of opinion, nor about his right to propound his views: he already exercises these rights fully as he should. The issue is ... the importance of the human rights movement maintaining an objective distance from groups and ideas that are committed to systematic discrimination and fundamentally undermine the universality of human rights."[103] The controversy prompted responses by politicians, the writer "Salman Rushdie, and journalist "Christopher Hitchens, among others who criticised Amnesty's association with Begg.

After her suspension and the controversy, Saghal was interviewed by numerous media and attracted international supporters. She was interviewed on "National Public Radio (NPR) on 27 February, where she discussed the activities of Cageprisoners and why she deemed it inappropriate for Amnesty to associate with Begg.[104] She said that Cageprisoners' Asim Qureshi spoke supporting global "jihad at a "Hizb ut-Tahrir rally.[104] She noted 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.[102][104]

In a separate interview for the Indian "Daily News & Analysis, Saghal said that, as Quereshi affirmed Begg's support for global jihad on a "BBC World Service programme, "these things could have been stated in his [Begg's] introduction" with Amnesty.[105] She said that Begg's bookshop had published The Army of Madinah, which she characterised as a jihad manual by "Dhiren Barot.[106]

Pay controversy[edit]

In February 2011, newspaper stories in the UK revealed that "Irene Khan had received a payment of UK£533,103 from Amnesty International following her resignation from the organisation on 31 December 2009,[107] a fact pointed to from Amnesty's records for the 2009–2010 financial year. The sum paid to her was in excess of four times her annual salary of £132,490.[107] The deputy secretary general, "Kate Gilmore – who also resigned in December 2009 – received an ex-gratia payment of £320,000.[107][108] Peter Pack, the chairman of Amnesty's International Executive Committee (IEC), initially stated on 19 February 2011: "The payments to outgoing secretary general Irene Khan shown in the accounts of AI (Amnesty International) Ltd for the year ending 31 March 2010 include payments made as part of a confidential agreement between AI Ltd and Irene Khan"[108] and that "It is a term of this agreement that no further comment on it will be made by either party."[107]

The payment and AI's initial response to its leakage to the press led to considerable outcry. "Philip Davies, the "Conservative MP for "Shipley, decried the payment, telling the "Daily Express: "I am sure people making donations to Amnesty, in the belief they are alleviating poverty, never dreamed they were subsidising a fat cat payout. This will disillusion many benefactors."[108] On 21 February Peter Pack issued a further statement, in which he said that the payment was a "unique situation" that was "in the best interest of Amnesty's work" and that there would be no repetition of it.[107] He stated that "the new secretary general, with the full support of the IEC, has initiated a process to review our employment policies and procedures to ensure that such a situation does not happen again."[107] Pack also stated that Amnesty was "fully committed to applying all the resources that we receive from our millions of supporters to the fight for human rights".[107] On 25 February, Pack issued a letter to Amnesty members and staff. In summary, it states that the IEC in 2008 had decided not to prolong Khan's contract for a third term. In the following months, IEC discovered that due to British employment law, it had to choose between the three options of either offering Khan a third term, discontinuing her post and, in their judgement, risking legal consequences, or signing a confidential agreement and issuing a pay compensation.[109]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 1984 Amnesty International received the Four Freedom award for the Freedom of Speech[110] In 1977, Amnesty International was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "having contributed to securing the ground for freedom, for justice, and thereby also for peace in the world".

National sections[edit]

Country/Territory Local website
Amnesty International Algeria www.amnestyalgerie.org
Amnesty International Ghana www.amnestyghana.org
Amnesty International Argentina www.amnistia.org.ar
"Amnesty International Australia www.amnesty.org.au
Amnesty International Austria www.amnesty.at
(Amnesty International Belgium)
Amnesty International Flanders
Amnesty International Francophone Belgium

www.aivl.be
www.amnestyinternational.be
Amnesty International Benin www.aibenin.org
Amnesty International Bermuda www.amnestybermuda.org
Amnesty International Brazil www.anistia.org.br
Amnesty International Burkina Faso www.amnestyburkina.org
Amnesty International Canada (English)
Amnistie internationale Canada (Francophone)
www.amnesty.ca
www.amnistie.ca
Amnesty International Chile www.amnistia.cl
Amnesty International Czech Republic www.amnesty.cz
Amnesty International Denmark www.amnesty.dk
Amnesty International Faroe Islands www.amnesty.fo
Amnesty International Finland www.amnesty.fi
Amnesty International France www.amnesty.fr
Amnesty International Germany www.amnesty.de
Amnesty International Greece www.amnesty.org.gr
Amnesty International Hong Kong www.amnesty.org.hk
Amnesty International Hungary www.amnesty.hu
Amnesty International Iceland www.amnesty.is
"Amnesty International India www.amnesty.org.in
"Amnesty International Ireland www.amnesty.ie
Amnesty International Israel www.amnesty.org.il
Amnesty International Italy www.amnesty.it
Amnesty International Japan www.amnesty.or.jp
Amnesty International Jersey www.amnesty.org.je
Amnesty International Luxembourg www.amnesty.lu
Amnesty International Malaysia amnesty.my
Amnesty International Mauritius www.amnestymauritius.org
Amnesty International Mexico www.amnistia.org.mx
Amnesty International Moldova www.amnesty.md
Amnesty International Mongolia www.amnesty.mn
Amnesty International Morocco www.amnesty.ma
Amnesty International Nepal www.amnestynepal.org
Amnesty International Netherlands www.amnesty.nl
"Amnesty International New Zealand www.amnesty.org.nz
Amnesty International Norway www.amnesty.no
Amnesty International Paraguay www.amnistia.org.py
Amnesty International Peru www.amnistia.org.pe
Amnesty International Philippines www.amnesty.org.ph
Amnesty International Poland www.amnesty.org.pl
Amnesty International Portugal www.amnistia.pt
Amnesty International Puerto Rico www.amnistiapr.org
Amnesty International Russia www.amnesty.org.ru
Amnesty International Senegal www.amnesty.sn
Amnesty International Slovak Republic www.amnesty.sk
Amnesty International Slovenia www.amnesty.si
"Amnesty International South Africa www.amnesty.org.za
Amnesty International South Korea www.amnesty.or.kr
Amnesty International Spain www.es.amnesty.org
Amnesty International Sweden www.amnesty.se
Amnesty International Switzerland www.amnesty.ch
Amnesty International Taiwan www.amnesty.tw
"Amnesty International Thailand www.amnesty.or.th
Amnesty International Togo www.amnesty.tg
Amnesty International Tunisia www.amnesty-tunisie.org/
Amnesty International Turkey www.amnesty.org.tr
Amnesty International UK www.amnesty.org.uk
Amnesty International Ukraine www.amnesty.org.ua
Amnesty International Uruguay www.amnistia.org.uy
"Amnesty International USA www.amnestyusa.org
Amnesty International Venezuela www.amnistia.me

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

a. ^ Anthropologist Linda Rabben refers to the origin of Amnesty as a "creation myth" with a "kernel of truth": "The immediate impetus to form Amnesty did come from Peter Benenson's righteous indignation while reading a newspaper in the London tube on 19 November 1960."[111] Historian Tom Buchanan traced the origins story to a radio broadcast by Peter Benenson in 1962. The 4 March 1962 BBC news story did not refer to a "toast to liberty", but Benenson said his tube ride was on 19 December 1960. Buchanan was unable to find the newspaper article about the Portuguese students in The Daily Telegraph for either month. Buchanan found many news stories reporting on the repressive Portuguese political arrests in The Times for November 1960.[112]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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