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Amnesty International UK Section

Amnesty International UK section is part of global human rights organisation, Amnesty International. We are a membership organisation made up of passionate individuals who campaign on a wide range of human rights issues. Our priority issues are freedom of expression, racial justice, individuals at risk, crisis, legal framework and economic, social and cultural rights.

We have offices in London, Belfast and Edinburgh, around 170 staff members and 60 volunteers along with over 210,000 financial supporters all  working to improve human rights worldwide.

Although we work together towards the same aim, Amnesty International UK is two separate legal entities: Amnesty International UK Section and Amnesty International UK Charitable Trust.

Are you passionate about human rights and being a voice for those at risk? If you are not a member already, why not join the team and become a member of one of the biggest people-powered movements for human rights in the UK.

What does Amnesty International UK Section do?

Amnesty International UK Section is the legal entity responsible for most of the campaigning, communications, and activism (public mobilisation) activity conducted by Amnesty International UK.

Amnesty International UK Section are accountable to you, our members. Every year, at our Annual General Meeting, members get to have their say on the work that we do. Moreover, our Board of Directors that  govern the work of Amnesty International UK Section are elected by you, our members.

Amnesty International UK Section also owns and/or leases the offices and shops used by the UK Section and carries out the majority of the Section's trading activities such as our bookshops and online shop.

Amnesty Freestyle is a limited company and the trading subsidiary of the UK Section, accounting for events such as The Secret Policeman's Ball.


How is Amnesty International UK Section governed?

The Board of Directors is our primary governing body – it works through our Chief Executive Officer, the most senior member of paid staff, to ensure the long-term success of our organisation, to implement the strategic plan approved by members at the Annual General Meeting and it participates in governance of the global movement through our representatives at the Global Assembly. Together with the Board of the Charitable Trust, it also appoints Amnesty International UK’s Chief Executive Officer, holding them accountable for the general management of the section. 

Our Board of Directors is made up of up to 15 unpaid, volunteer members - people who are passionate about the work that we do, with the skills and experience to ensure that we do it well. Our members elect 12 of these individuals and they meet a minimum of four times a year.

Although the Board is our main governing and decision-making body, it can choose to appoint Subcommittees to advise on particular areas of expertise.

How is Amnesty International UK Board chosen?

All our members have the right to vote on who joins the Board. However, groups of particularly active members are allowed to  nominate particular candidates. For example, Local groups and our networks each nominate two members and one seat is reserved for a Country Coordinator. One seat is reserved from a member aged 16-17, another seat is reserved for a member aged 18-23. The remaining places are open to any member who would like to put themselves forward for election.

Board members serve a three-year term of office and can be re-elected for one further three-year term before standing down. After a gap of three years, they may stand for election to the Board again if they wish for one further term.  The Chair and Vice-Chair may stand again directly for a third term, without the need to take a three year break, up to the maximum of nine years or until they are no longer Chair or Vice-Chair. Where the Board identifies a gap in knowledge or expertise, it may also co-opt up to three additional members.

After a vote, the results of the election of new members to the Board are usually declared within three weeks. The Board elects from within its members a Chair, Vice-Chair and Treasurer for three year terms.

What are the rules of Amnesty International UK Section?

Over the past few years, Amnesty International UK Section has reviewed its governance and constitution to ensure that we are an effective democratic organisation that is truly representative of our members, and focussed on achieving positive human rights changes.

Our 2015 and 2016 AGMs agreed a number of amendments for updating our constitution, then In 2017, the AGM also agreed to adopt rules to further support Amnesty International UK Section‘s governance.

Like the formal articles, they are binding on Amnesty International UK Section. However, the rules can be amended by an ordinary resolution at an AGM, and therefore provide an element of flexibility so that Amnesty International UK Section structures and processes can evolve in line with the needs of the organisation.  

Useful resources

Amnesty International United Kingdom Section Constitution

Amnesty International United Kingdom Section Rules

Amnesty International United Kingdom Section AGM Standing Orders

Amnesty International United Kingdom Section Constitution
Amnesty International United Kingdom Section Rules
Amnesty International United Kingdom Section AGM Standing Orders