Frequently asked questions

> What is Amnesty International?
> How do I join Amnesty International?
> Is Amnesty International effective?
> How does Amnesty International carry out its work?
> How can I work with Amnesty International?
> Who finances Amnesty International's work?
> How did Amnesty International start?
> How does Amnesty International get its information?
> How does Amnesty International make sure it has the facts right?
> How does Amnesty International obtain information about "closed" countries?
> How can I contact Amnesty International?
> Grave human rights abuses are happening in my country – who should I contact to report this?
> Where are your offices based?
> I would like you to answer a question that is not listed on this page.

What is Amnesty International?

Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights to be respected and protected.

Outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world, we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity.

Our members and supporters exert influence on governments, political bodies, companies and intergovernmental groups.

Activists take up human rights issues not only through various communication and media channels but also by mobilizing public pressure through mass demos, vigils and direct lobbying.

More about Amnesty International

Back to top ^^

How do I join Amnesty International?

We have offices in 80 countries worldwide and you can join the local Amnesty International group in your country of residence.

If you do not live in one of those 80 countries, you can become an international member.

Read more about joining Amnesty International

Back to top ^^

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.

Further information on our achievements

Back to top ^^

How does Amnesty International carry out its work?

All our campaigning and research is fact based. Among the many activities we carry out, we:
  • send experts to talk with victims
  • observe trials
  • interview local officials
  • liaise with human rights activists
  • monitor global and local media
  • publish detailed reports
  • inform the news media
  • publicize our concerns in documents, leaflets, posters, advertisements, newsletters and websites
We help stop human rights abuses by mobilizing the public to put pressure on governments, armed political groups, companies and intergovernmental bodies via:
  • public demonstrations
  • vigils
  • letter-writing campaigns
  • human rights education
  • awareness-raising concerts
  • direct lobbying
  • targeted appeals
  • email petitions and other online actions
  • partnerships with local campaigning groups
  • community activities
  • co-operation with student groups

Back to top ^^

How can I work with Amnesty International?

There are a number of ways in which you can contribute to Amnesty International, both in terms of time and money:

Jobs: We are always looking for dedicated, hard-working people to join our organisation. We offer a competitive salary, comprehensive benefits and the opportunity to be part of a progressive campaigning organisation. Amnesty International’s headquarters, the International Secretariat, is based in London but with a number of offices elsewhere. See a complete list of current job vacancies

Volunteer: Volunteers are Amnesty International's heartbeat.  We need and want volunteers to support our work in every country where we are present.  Please go to the website of your local Amnesty International branch to learn more.   We also run a volunteer programme at the International Secretariat office in London, UK and recruit volunteers for a minimum three-month period. See a complete list of current volunteer opportunities

Internships: At the International Secretariat, we recruit interns for six-month periods to be based in our offices in London, Geneva or New York to carry out administrative and project-related work. See a complete list of current intern opportunities

Join: Join Amnesty International and help us build pressure for change. You’ll receive a welcome pack, monthly magazine and information about special Amnesty events. Your contribution will make the world of difference. Join Amnesty International

Donate: Make an online donation now and help defend human rights. You can make either a one-off donation or agree to make regular contributions to our work. Donate to Amnesty International

Back to top ^^

Who finances Amnesty International's work?

The overwhelming majority of our income comes from individuals the world over. These personal and unaffiliated donations allow AI to maintain full independence from any and all 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. By way of ethical fundraising leading to donations from individuals, we are able to stand firm and unwavering in our defence of universal and indivisible human rights.

Donate to Amnesty International

Back to top ^^

How did Amnesty International start?

More than four decades ago, the story of two Portuguese students sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for raising a toast to freedom horrified British lawyer Peter Benenson.

He wrote to the British newspaper, The Observer, calling for an international campaign to bombard authorities around the world with protests about the "forgotten prisoners".

On 28 May 1961, the newspaper launched his year long campaign, Appeal for Amnesty 1961, calling on people everywhere to protest against the imprisonment of men and women for their political or religious beliefs – "prisoners of conscience".

Read more about the Amnesty International story

Back to top ^^

How does Amnesty International get its information?

Our research teams focusing on particular countries and themes investigate reports of human rights abuses, cross checking and corroborating information from a wide variety of sources and contacts. 

We receive information from many sources, including:
  • prisoners and others suffering other human rights abuses and their representatives
  • survivors of abuse and their families
  • lawyers and journalists
  • refugees
  • diplomats
  • religious bodies and community workers
  • humanitarian agencies and other human rights organizations
  • human rights defenders
They monitor newspapers, websites and other media outlets. Amnesty International often sends fact-finding missions to assess the situation on the spot.

Back to top ^^

How does Amnesty International make sure it has the facts right?

Before any statement, pubication or report is issued, its text is subject to close review 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.

As a result, Amnesty International's research is recognized globally for its reliability.  We are consulted widely including by governments, intergovernmental organizations, journalists, scholars and other human rights organizations and campaigning groups.

Back to top ^^

How does Amnesty International obtain information about "closed" countries?

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

Back to top ^^

How can I contact Amnesty International?

For membership inquiries/local volunteering/publication orders please contact the Amnesty International office in your country/territory.

If you have concerns about human rights issues in any particular country, please contact the International Secretariat.

Back to top ^^

Grave human rights abuses are taking place in my country. Who should I contact?

Please contact the International Secretariat as soon as possible.

Back to top ^^

Where are your offices based?

The International Secretariat is based in London. Our national organisations – called "sections" – have offices in a further 80 countries.

Back to top ^^

I would like you to answer a question that is not listed on this page.

Email us your question and we’ll try to answer you or post the answer up here as quickly as possible.

Back to top ^^

 

How you can help

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE