About Amnesty

Amnesty as a movement – Vision and Mission

Amnesty International UK (AIUK) is one of more than 50 AI sections (national offices) worldwide.

AIUK has more than 195,000 members, over 300 local groups and over 1000 affiliated organisations across the United Kingdom.

AIUK’s main office is in London with additional offices in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

AIUK employs 132 staff and around 65 volunteers.

More information about AIUK can be found within the main AIUK website.

CUAI is one of roughly 100 student Amnesty groups based in UK universities that are affiliated to AIUK

Amnesty as a movement

Amnesty International (AI) is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights.

AI’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 standards. You can read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In pursuit of this vision, AI’s mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights.

AI is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion. It does not support or oppose any government or political system, nor does it support or oppose the views of the victims whose rights it seeks to protect. It is concerned solely with the impartial protection of human rights.

AI has a varied network of members and supporters around the world. At the latest count, there were more than 1.8 million members, supporters and subscribers in over 150 countries and territories in every region of the world. Although they come from many different backgrounds and have widely different political and religious beliefs, they are united by a determination to work for a world where everyone enjoys human rights.

Vision

Amnesty International’s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaraion of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.

Mission

Amnesty International’s mission reflects the main ways in which its members campaign. The mission is to: ◦promote general awareness of human rights;
◦and oppose specific abuses of human rights.

More about the mission

1. Promoting general awareness of human rights ◦ We promote awareness of the values contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally-agreed standards of human rights.

◦ We encourage people to accept that all human rights must be protected.
◦ We encourage all governments to ratify (agree to be bound by) and enforce international standards of human rights.
◦ We carry out a wide range of education activities about human rights.
◦ We encourage governments and other political bodies (such as armed opposition groups) to support and respect human rights.
◦ We also encourage non-governmental organisations, groups, businesses, financial institutions and individual people (sometimes called ‘non-state actors’) to support and respect human rights.

2. Opposing specific human rights abuses

We undertake research and action focused on preventing grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination. Issues we are working on at present include:  ◦Torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Torture is still used regularly in dozens of countries. We believe that torture is always wrong, and we oppose it under all circumstances.

◦The use of the death penalty by governments
We oppose the death penalty in all cases.
◦’Disappearances’

We oppose all ‘disappearances’ and we campaign for the fate and whereabouts of the missing people to be revealed. The ‘disappeared’ are people who have been taken into custody by government authorities or by armed political groups, but whose whereabouts and fate are kept secret. The government authorities or armed political groups deny that they have taken the people into custody.

◦Deliberate and arbitrary killings

These include the following:

◾Extrajudicial executions by governments (illegal and deliberate killings carried out under a government’s orders or with its permission).
◾Killings caused by the unnecessary use of lethal force by law enforcement officials.
◾Killings of civilians in direct or indiscriminate attacks by governments or armed political groups. These killings are against the laws of war.

◦Detaining prisoners of conscience

We work for the immediate and unconditional release of prisoners of conscience.

Prisoners of conscience are people who:

◦have not used, or encouraged the use of, violence; have not openly supported or recommended hatred for racial, religious or similar reasons to provoke people to discriminate, or to be hostile or volent; are detained or imprisoned because of their political, religious or other beliefs, or their ethnic origin, sex, colour or similar reasons.
◦Prisoners of conscience include people who are detained or imprisoned just because, for example, they have tried to form political parties in a country where this is banned.
◦Detaining any political prisoner without holding a fair trial within a reasonable time

We call for all political prisoners to be charged and tried fairly as soon as possible or be released.

We call people political prisoners if we believe their imprisonment has a political background. This may include being a member of a forbidden political party, or being involved in armed struggle against the government, or being victims of other kinds of systematic discrimination based on sex, race or other reasons. Political prisoners may have used or encouraged the use of violence.

* Excessive use of force by law enforcement officials
* Taking hostages

Hostages are people whose life, liberty or physical safety depends on other people meeting certain demands.

◦Children taking part in armed conflict

We are against all children under 18 taking part in armed conflicts and campaign against their conscription or recruitment into any armed forces.

◦Other severe suffering inflicted because of a person’s beliefs or identity.

These include exiling someone (sending them away from their country and not allowing them to return), and serious patterns of harassment (such as summoning someone to report to a police station for days on end without good cause) that are inflicted because of a person’s beliefs or identity.

We campaign against the above abuses whether they are committed by government officials or by members of armed political groups. We may also challenge any government if ‘non-state actors’ in their country commit these kinds of abuses, and the government has either been an accomplice in the abuse, or failed to prevent it. An example of this is our recent work towards ending female genital mutilation.