Mission statement

We are a campaigning organisation; it's what we do. Our purpose is to protect people wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied.” 

Size and organisational structure

The global movement has more than three million members, supporters and activists in over 150 countries and territories, and offices in more than 80 countries. The UK section has 211 paid staff (full time equivalent: 182.6) and an annual income of £23.7m.

It has 227,459 financial supporters, of which 146,200 pay a regular membership subscription.* The international secretariat, based in London, is responsible for the majority of the organisation’s research and leads its campaigning work. The international executive committee is the global board, meeting throughout the year, to which national sections send delegates.

Sources of funding

Amnesty International is funded through its membership and public donations.

Leadership and key personnel

Salil Shetty, secretary general, Amnesty International

Kate Allen, director, Amnesty International UK

Brief history

After hearing about two Portuguese students imprisoned for raising a toast to freedom in 1961, British lawyer Peter Benenson published an article –The Forgotten Prisoners – in the Observer newspaper.

That article launched the Appeal for Amnesty 1961, a worldwide campaign that provoked a remarkable response. Reprinted in newspapers across the world, Benenson’s call to action resonated with the values and aspirations of people everywhere. This was the genesis of Amnesty International, which went on to win the Nobel peace prize in 1977 for its campaign against torture.

Campaign sectors

Human rights: including arms and security, the death penalty, refugees, poverty and women’s rights.

Campaigning highlights

1986: Nigerian musician Fela Kuti was released from prison after serving 18 months of a five-year sentence for criticising Nigeria’s military government in his songs.

2008: UK government ratified the European Convention Against Trafficking in December 2008 following years of campaigning by organisations including Amnesty International, Unicef and Anti-Slavery International.

This profile is part of Ethical Corporation's special management briefing on activist NGOs

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