Why we are effective

9 April 2015, 11:59 UTC | New Zealand
Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Advisor interviewed by Spanish television. February 2015 © Amnesty International (Photo: Richard Burton)

1. We are independent

Amnesty International is completely independent. We challenge human rights abuses wherever they occur, regardless of which government or group is responsible. This doesn’t always make us popular – Idi Amin, Ayatollah Khomeni and the Chinese Communist Party have all criticised our work.

But we believe the praise of Amnesty supporters like Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai carries far more weight. We have also been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

2. We are trusted

Our work is underpinned by independent research in the field, firsthand eyewitness accounts and survivor testimonies. All are cross-checked with a network of trusted sources and experts. This makes our work a valuable resource for governments, bodies like the United Nations, and media outlets around the world.

3. We are committed in the long-term

Our commitment to long-term campaigning delivers results and saves lives. Our work over several decades helped to secure an international Arms Trade Treaty in 2013, the International Criminal Court in 2002, and a global convention against torture in 1984.

4. We are comprehensive

Our collective size enables us to work on a comprehensive range of human rights issues across the world and campaign more effectively. Our depth of knowledge makes a resource for many governments seeking to improve human rights. Countries throughout the Pacific look for our leadership when it is time to vote on United Nations matters.

5. We are about people

Our work for individuals at risk has changed thousands of lives around the world, helping to save people from torture, detention, harassment and other abuses.

6. We aren’t afraid of hard work

We tackle difficult and complex issues that do not result in ‘quick wins’. In the early 90s, we started challenging governments to find a solution to the deadly and uncontrolled illicit trade of arms. It took twenty years of campaigning, millions of signatures, thousands of public demonstrations and countless hours of discussions with international authorities - but the international Arms Trade Treaty is now law. It has the power to save millions of lives, and we couldn’t have done it without you.

7. We collaborate

We work with a huge range of organisations, networks, and individual campaigners across the world. This helps to amplify local voices and empower local human rights defenders. It means we can coordinate region-wide and even global work that exceeds the sum of its individual parts.

8. We are a member-led movement

Amnesty International is a global movement of over seven million people. They decide what we do and help to ensure that when we speak, governments listen. We can mobilise them to support a campaign, adding strength to our message and show that human rights are relevant to ordinary people around the world. Our campaigners include thousands of young people inside and outside the classroom.

9. We hold influence

Members of Parliament look to us to understand the most pressing human rights matters around the world. When a crisis breaks out, New Zealand journalists turn to us to separate fact from fiction and provide in-depth background on the issues and actions that will make a difference.

10. We are effective

Amnesty International is one of the world’s most influential NGOs, with a track record of success. Yet in terms of how much we spend on our work, we are smaller than many people think. Because our campaigning work is done so effectively through our volunteer networks and individual members, we get a big ‘return on our investment’.

We are made up or ordinary people across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. This is our strength, and means that the money and time our members and supporters give makes a huge difference to the global advancement of human rights.

Get involved and help make us even more effective >>

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