Source description last updated: 10 April 2020

In brief: Amnesty International (AI) is an international non-governmental human rights organisation. It based on London (UK).

Coverage on

Reports, press releases, Urgent Actions

Covered daily on for countries of priorities A, B and C (Annual Report also for E)


“Amnesty International’s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments. […] Amnesty International’s mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of these rights. […]

Amnesty International forms a global community of human rights defenders with the principles of international solidarity, effective action for the individual victim, global coverage, the universality and indivisibility of human rights, impartiality and independence, and democracy and mutual respect.” (AI: Statute of Amnesty International, amended as of August 2019, p. 1)

Founded in 1961, “Amnesty has grown from seeking the release of political prisoners to upholding the whole spectrum of human rights.” (AI: Who We Are, undated)

AI is “independent of any political ideology, economic interest or religion.” (AI: Who We Are, undated)

AI’s International Secretariat (IS) in London is responsible for “[c]onducting research and reporting” and “[p]roviding expert legal analysis of […] research data, forming the basis of expert lobbying of international government organisations”, amongst others. AI’s “Sections carry out AI work at a national and/or regional level. AI has sections set up in more than 70 countries.” Amongst others, Sections are responsible for “[c]onducting own research projects focusing on human rights abuses in their own country […].” (AI: Structure and People, undated)


The majority of AI’s “income comes from small donations from private individuals” (AI: 2017 Global Financial Report, undated). AI also receives grants from trusts and foundations and income from legacies and bequests. It states that it “neither seek[s] nor accept[s] any funds for human rights research from governments or political parties” and “accept[s] support only from businesses that have been carefully vetted” (AI: Finances and Pay, undated).

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: all countries

Thematic focus: human rights issues relating to death penalty, detention, torture, disappearances, freedom of expression, discrimination, rights of indigenous peoples, rights of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants, sexual and reproductive rights, armed conflict, arms control, corporate accountability, climate change etc. (AI: What We Do, undated)


Amnesty International “systematically and impartially researches the facts of individual cases and patterns of human rights abuses.” (AI: Statute of Amnesty International, amended as of August 2019, p. 1)

“[AI] 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. […] They monitor newspapers, websites and other media outlets. Amnesty International often sends fact-finding missions to assess the situation on the spot.” (AI/Antenne Jeune Internationale Paris: Frequently Asked Questions, undated)

AI reports may draw on both on primary and secondary sources. Primary information may be gathered though interviews with persons affected by human rights abuse as well as their family members, eyewitnesses, human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and experts (AI: They descend on us like rain: Justice for victims of protest crackdown in Sudan [AFR 54/1893/2020], 10 March 2020, p. 14). Interviews may be conducted on the ground, by telephone or through written exchanges (AI: Caught in a political game: Asylum-seekers and migrants on the Greece/Turkey border pay the price for Europe’s failures [EUR 01/2077/2020], April 2020, p. 6). Secondary sources may include “reports and other documentation produced by national and international human rights organizations” and “information from UN Human Rights bodies, academic articles, media reports, as well as official reports and statements.” Where there are security and privacy concerns, AI may opt to withhold mentioning names of interviewed persons, places and the means by which interviews were conducted. (AI: They descend on us like rain: Justice for victims of protest crackdown in Sudan [AFR 54/1893/2020], 10 March 2020, p. 14).

Languages of publication:

English, French, Spanish, Arabic; the Annual Report is available in some 20 languages.

Further reading / links:

BBC: Amnesty loses five bosses after report on 'toxic workplace', 28 May 2019

Unite for Our Society: Job losses to come as Amnesty International plan change of direction, 9 April 2020


All links accessed 10 April 2020