Amnesty haemorrhages support as it loses its way. It should stop spending its funds to promote abortion and get back to the vision of its founder, Peter Benenson, working for prisoners of conscience and human rights.


Amnesty haemorrhages support as it loses its way. It should stop spending its funds to promote abortion and get back to the vision of its founder, Peter Benenson, working for prisoners of conscience and human rights.

Peter benenson

It seems the public have given their verdict on Amnesty International’s move away from traditional research-led human rights investigations into politically-correct abortion campaigning. The supreme human right is the right to life. Amnesty was set up to protect lives not to take end them.

Perhaps they sense something is badly wrong with the 58-year old organisation, which is now adrift from its founder’s values.

Insiders have told the Guardian that Amnesty International is in the grip of “an existential crisis”, with up to 70 jobs on the line because of “a slump in donations and a multi-million pound increase in spending on fundraising” (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/27/amnesty-international-staff-braced-for-redundancies).The management admit to a hole in Amnesty’s budget of up to £17m by the end of next year.

Accompanying what the Guardian reports is the diminishing of the focus on prisoners of conscience are details of the extraordinary sums spent on ‘back-office’ administration, fundraising and stellar levels of management pay. In 2017, the top 23 highest earners at Amnesty International were paid a total of £2.6m– an average of £113,000 per year.

What a contrast with the holy chaos that typified Peter Benenson inspirational years as the Catholic founder of Amnesty. Looking back on his life, the Independent said “There was little in the way of organisation or administration – budgets were so small that they were often worked out on the back of a cigarette packet in a pub. Everything hinged on Benenson’s personality.”

This is what happens when organisations are cut off from their core values; they lose their way and they lose their support. Just look at the contrast between how Amnesty spends the money it receives with the priorities of others in the charitable field.

The latest full Annual Report for AI is from 2017 and is here:
https://www.amnesty.org/en/2017-global-financial-report/

It indicates that under 50% of their spending of 288m euros went on “human rights research, advocacy, campaigning, raising awareness and education.” And over half went on “raising funds”, “building our supporter base”, “governance” and other “functions”.

What a comparison with other major charities. (See:Fact check: how do charities spend your money?) St. John Ambulance for example, where for every £1 spent, 87.3p went on charitable activities, 10p is spent on fundraising and 2.7p is spent on generating income.

Why do I care that Amnesty has drifted so far from that great lawyer’s ideals?

Because the ideological entryism that has subverted its founding principles has now left the very people it was established to protect without a respected and authoritative voice.

Perhaps it’s time for another generation to create a Benenson Amnesty Trust for prisoners of conscience?
Peter Benenson with the Amnesy candle