Frequently asked questions

What is Amnesty International?

We are a worldwide movement of people who campaign for human rights.

Our work is based on careful research and on the standards agreed by the international community. Amnesty UK is one of more than 50 nationally organised sections that make up the Amnesty International worldwide movement. Amnesty UK members elect a national board to represent them at the International Council Meeting. This is a gathering of representatives of all sections, which meets every two years to take the major policy decisions of the movement.

What does Amnesty International do?

We work independently and impartially to promote respect for all the human rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We concentrate on ending abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination. We campaign for international recognition of human rights issues. This takes the form of:

  • Promotion of awareness through various means including public events, fundraising activities and multimedia outreach
  • Opposing specific abuses of human rights through a programme of research and action

Is Amnesty effective?

We are based on the belief that individuals working together in international solidarity can bring about real change.

In a world where those with power sometimes act with callous disregard for human suffering, this may seem hopelessly optimistic. However, since 1961 we have made appeals on behalf of thousands of individual victims of human rights abuses. During over 50 years of protecting and defending human rights we have established a concrete record of achieving these aims on a multitude of issues and in many individuals' cases.

How can I get involved in Amnesty International?

We are a membership organisation. We rely on the active participation of our members to achieve our goals. We encourage all people who support our objectives and principles to join us and take action.

As a member of Amnesty UK you can act individually and add another voice to our campaigns, or join a group or network. Alternatively, you can donate, fundraise, buy something or give as you spend.

How is Amnesty funded?

We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion.

To ensure our independence, we do not seek or accept money from governments or political parties for our work in documenting and campaigning against human rights abuses.Our funding depends on the contributions of our worldwide membership and fundraising activities.To safeguard the independence of the organisation, all contributors are strictly controlled by guidelines laid down by the International Council. Find out more about our finances

Where does Amnesty work?

At the latest count, there were more than seven million members, supporters and activists in over 150 countries and territories in every region of the world.

The International Secretariat presides over 50 sections, including Amnesty International UK, which coordinate and develop campaign activities within a country.Each section carries out Country Action Programmes (CAPs) in conjunction with the International Secretariat to prevent or oppose human rights abuses in specified countries.A country-specific At Risk of Crisis Register is issued by the International Secretariat every three months, and allocates key sections for each crisis alert.Amnesty does not limit its work to specific countries, whenever we establish that action is needed to protect people whose rights have been abused, we mobilise our membership.

How does Amnesty decide what cases to support?

Each year, we produce hundreds of reports covering many different countries and issues based on thorough research and analysis by experts at our International Secretariat.

We also publish a comprehensive annual report covering developments in human rights in 150 countries.We select campaigning tasks in consultation with the International Secretariat. Once we have chosen our campaigning tasks and prepared the material, we send the information to the groups, networks and supporters that, in our judgement, will create the most pressure.

How can I contact Amnesty?

Please phone our Supporter Care Team on 020 7033 1777 or email sct@amnesty.org.uk and we will endeavour to answer you as soon as possible.

Can I get an interview for my project/dissertation?

Unfortunately we are unable to help with the many requests we receive from students for interviews. You can find out more about our work in the About Us section