Amnesty International is the world’s largest human rights movement, with more than 3 million members in more than 150 countries.
Amnesty International works to stop human rights abuses by mobilizing public opinion to put pressure on governments, armed political groups, companies and intergovernmental bodies.
Amnesty International depends solely on the support of our members and the general public and are independent from government, political ideology, economic interest or religion.
Amnesty International does not support or oppose any government or political system, neither does it necessarily support or oppose the views of those whose rights it seeks to protect.
Amnesty International began in 1961 when Peter Benenson, a British lawyer, published an article in the Observer newspaper, “The Forgotten Prisoners”, protesting the treatment of Portuguese political activists.
Reprinted in newspapers around the world, the article was the catalyst for the creation of an “Appeal for Amnesty 1961”. At an international meeting held that summer, a “permanent international movement in defence of freedom of opinion and religion” – what is now Amnesty International – was created.
From a small office in Peter Benenson’s London law firm, the movement began to grow, campaigning for the rights of “prisoners of conscience”, activists and vulnerable people and communities around the world.
Today, the Amnesty International movement has grown to more than 3 million members in almost every country.
Amnesty International uses a combination of resources to campaign for human rights.
Its research teams monitor events around the world, gathering information during fact-finding trips and through local and regional in-country contacts.
Its campaigners highlight both individual cases of people at risk and broader campaigns that aim to ensure human rights are recognised and respected.
Its lobbyists work with national and international individuals and organizations – from regional officials to the United Nations – to drive home the importance the rights of all people.
Most importantly, Amnesty International members take up human rights issues, including letter writing, on-line and off-line campaigning, demonstrations, vigils and direct lobbying of people in power.
Amnesty International is a democratic, membership-led movement and its members from around the world actively shape the work that it does.
Members steer the direction of the movement by electing a committee that is responsible for the overall management of the organization.
Amnesty International has 80 offices, called “sections”, around the world, as well as an International Secretariat in London. These sections work to campaign on the agreed common themes and campaigns of the movement, but operate independently, allowing them to reflect the nature of their country and communities.
Amnesty International is ultimately run by its 3 million members.
Amnesty International’s nine-member International Executive Committee (IEC), elected by members at biennial International Council meetings, provides guidance, leadership and overall management for the movement.
The IEC ensures the organization works effectively, efficiently, fairly and transparently. It oversees the implementation of strategic plans, ensures sound financial management and manages Amnesty International’s sections and structures around the world.
The IEC takes international decisions and ensures the scope of the organization’s work complies with Amnesty International’s statutes.
The IEC also appoints and directs Amnesty International’s Secretary General, who is responsible for the conduct of the international movement. The Secretary General is the movement’s chief spokesman and political advisor and is the head of the International Secretariat.
The IEC provides the movement with regular reports on its priorities, deliberations and decisions, including financial reports and budget statements.
Amnesty International is primarily supported by individuals from around the world.
These personal and unaffiliated donations allow the organization to maintain complete independence from governments, political ideologies, economic interests and religions.
Amnesty International neither seeks nor accepts any funds from governments or political parties and only accepts support from businesses that have been carefully vetted.
Amnesty International frequently has a variety of positions for people looking to make a real difference in the fight for human rights around the world.
And, of course, anyone can join Amnesty International and do the most important work of all, as an active member of the world’s largest human rights movement.
Amnesty International has offices in 80 countries around the world and campaigns for human rights in many more.
To join, donate or volunteer, select the nearest office using the country search list at the top of the page.
For concerns about human rights issues in a particular country, contact the Amnesty International International Secretariat.