Frequently Asked Questions

Where are Amnesty International members from?

Amnesty International is a movement of more than 7 million people worldwide. Here in New Zealand we have over 80,000 Kiwis supporting us in a variety of ways, from signing petitions and fundraising through to being part of our many passionate local teams.

Is Amnesty International "political"?

Amnesty International is fully independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion. We have no political affiliation and do not endorse nor accept funds from governments or political parties.

We are impartial. We do not support or oppose any government or political system, nor do we support or oppose the views of the victims whose rights it seeks to protect.

Amnesty International is concerned solely with the protection of the human rights in every case we take up, regardless of the ideology of the government, opposition forces or the beliefs of the individual.

Who finances Amnesty International's work?

Our funding comes from individuals around the world who believe a better world is possible. We neither seek nor accept any funds from governments or political parties. We accept support only from businesses that have been carefully vetted.

This allows us to maintain full independence from any and all governments, political ideologies, economic interests or religions. This ensures we are able to stand firm and unwavering in our defence of universal and indivisible human rights.

Read more about our finances >>

How does Amnesty International get its information?

Our key research is conducted by our International Secretariat, which has offices around the world. We deploy international research teams that each focus on specific regions and issues. Our research here in New Zealand is largely undertaken by our New Zealand office and overseen by the International Secretariat.

Our information sources range from prisoners and lawyers to refugees and diplomats; to religious bodies and other human rights defenders to thousands of media outlets. We send trained representatives to observe political trials, monitor the treatment of prisoners and talk with victims and their families. All our information is cross-checked and verified across our wide networks.

How does Amnesty International make sure it has its facts right?

Any statement, publication or report we issue is closely reviewed. We ensure it is factually accurate, politically impartial and consistent with our mission, vision and values. (link to Our Mission, Vision and Values” article)

When we deal with allegations rather than undisputed fact, we make this clear in our findings and may call for an investigation. If we make a mistake we issue a correction.

Our research is globally recognised for its reliability and we are widely consulted by governments, organisations, journalists, scholars and other human rights defenders.

Is Amnesty International effective?

We are completely independent, in it for the long haul and don’t shy away from difficult issues. We have a record of real achievement, because we believe that individuals working together in international solidarity can bring about real change.

Read about the successes you’ve helped contribute to >>

Read 10 reasons why we are effective >>

What does Amnesty International do in New Zealand and in the Pacific?

We work to protect human rights worldwide, but focus on issues specific to the Asia-Pacific region. Our proximity to the International Dateline is a key opportunity, as we can be among the first globally to take urgent action, particularly vital in response to reports of torture and disappearances.

We partner with other organisations and coalitions to grow the local human rights network with connections abroad. We lobby our government to ensure New Zealand maintains its status as a good global citizen.

We are also active in a quarter of all high schools throughout New Zealand, educating tomorrow’s leaders about human rights and building their campaigning skills.

Learn more about the issues we are working on >>

How is Amnesty International governed?

We are a democratic, member-based movement. Each national section meets annually to elect a local governance team and feed into the movement’s future direction. All sections are accountable through the International Council Meeting and International Board. Here in New Zealand we are led by a member-elected Board, and a senior management team headed by our executive director.

Learn more about how we are governed >>

Meet our board >>

Meet our Senior Management Team >>

How does Amnesty International obtain information about "closed" countries?

If we are denied official access to a country, research teams can rely on outside sources for information, including media reports, experts, refugees, diplomatic representatives and human rights defenders. In some countries, we may use new technologies such as satellite imagery to verify our information. Any sources from within the closed country that we rely upon are always protected.