Working conditions at Amnesty International: between discrimination and intimidation

For an organisation that wrongly castigates countries, individuals and other organisations, there is a need to question the functioning of Amnesty International.


Indeed, Amnesty has recently received several criticisms, particularly about the treatment of its staff, which call into question its credibility and independence. However, an organization whose raison d'être is to denounce human rights violations must be irreproachable in protecting the rights of its staff.




In December 2018, Le Monde published an investigative article that indicates how Amnesty operates has evolved to resemble that of a multinational corporation obsessed with communication performance, adding that Amnesty's investigative reports must be "completed in a shorter period of time, be attractive and less nuanced, and then released to the press as a marketing product, in order to expect more donor funding".


The article states that Amnesty's strategy places greater emphasis on external communication, often at the expense of the long time required for research in contexts of crises and concomitant truths.




An article published on 6 February 2019 by "The Guardian" quoted the KonTerra Group's conclusions on the working conditions of Amnesty staff following the suicide of two employees in 2018.


The report highlights the intimidation, humiliation and discrimination that threaten Amnesty's credibility. It highlights work culture issues based on a survey of 475 staff members, or 70% of its workforce.


The report describes a "toxic" work culture, with problems related to management failures, workload pressure and conflict culture in the workplace.


Amnesty staff report racial and gender discrimination. The complainants also highlighted allegations of abuse of power, discrimination and unfair treatment.


Recruitment practices have also been criticized. The staff have noted multiple cases of favouritism or nepotism when hiring.


The report also highlights that a significant number of Amnesty employees are victims of burn-out, direct or indirect trauma: 39% of staff report having developed mental or physical health problems as a result of working at Amnesty.



And lastly, according to The Guardian, 7 members of the general management of the Amnesty Secretariat have offered to resign following the findings of the KonTerra report.