Why we are effective

An activist holds a placard at our demonstration for solidarity with Syria, 2012
An activist holds a placard at our demonstration for solidarity with Syrian people under siege, London 2012 © Amnesty International

1. We're independent

Amnesty International is completely independent.

We challenge human rights abuses wherever they happen, regardless of which government or group is responsible. This doesn’t always make us popular – Idi Amin, Ayatollah Khomeni and the Chinese Communist Party have all criticised our work. But we believe the praise of Amnesty supporters like Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai carries far more weight.

We were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for our campaign to stop torture around the world.

2. Our research is watertight

Our work is underpinned by independent research in the field, first-hand eyewitness accounts and survivor testimonies, and forensic data using tools like satellite images where possible. We cross-check our research with a network of trusted sources and experts so it's watertight.

Our research continues to be a valuable resource for governments, independent international bodies like the United Nations, and media reporters and investigators around the world - as well as other campaigning and human rights organisations.

3. We're in it for the long run

Amnesty’s commitment to longterm campaigning delivers results and saves lives. Our work over several decades helped to secure an international Arms Trade Treaty in 2013, the International Criminal Court in 2002, and a global convention against torture in 1984.

4. We cover all human rights, everywhere

Amnesty’s size enables us to work on a comprehensive range of human rights issues across the world and campaign more effectively. For example, we have combined our legal and policy expertise with our knowledge of countries around the world to assist in a series of precedent-setting asylum cases in the UK.

5. We work on individual cases

Our Individuals at Risk work has changed thousands of lives around the world, helping to save people from torture, detention, harassment and other abuses.

6. We face difficult issues head-on

We tackle difficult and complex issues that do not result in ‘quick wins’. Year on year we campaigned on human rights in Burma and in the last 12 months hundreds of political prisoners have been freed. We similarly work on countries not in the spotlight, for example, Burundi, Tajikistan or Eritrea.

7. We work in partnership and collaboration

We work with a huge range of organisations, networks, and individual campaigners across the world. This helps to amplify local voices and empower local human rights defenders. It means we can coordinate region-wide and even global work that exceeds the sum of its individual parts.

8. Our supporters drive our work

Amnesty is a global movement of seven million people. They decide what we do and help to ensure that when we speak, governments listen. We can mobilise them to support a campaign, adding strength to our message and show that human rights are relevant to ordinary people around the world. Our campaigners include thousands of young people inside and outside the classroom.

9. We have won political influence

Amnesty’s UK section and its supporters can exert significant influence on the UK and devolved governments. Our lobbying led to the UK government ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings in 2008, and more recently agreeing to make women’s rights in Afghanistan a priority into 2014-5.

10. Our campaigns work

We're one of the world’s most influential NGOs, with a track record of success. Yet in terms of how much we spend on our work, we are smaller than many people think. Because our campaigning work is done so effectively through our volunteer networks and individual members, we get a big ‘return on our investment’.

Amnesty is made up of ordinary people from all walks of life around the world standing up for humanity and human rights. This is our strength, and means that the money and time our members and supporters give to Amnesty makes a huge difference to the global struggle for human rights.

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