AI’s head office appears to be a white stronghold with colonial features

Amnesty International headquarters in London.  Alamy Stock Photo
Amnesty International headquarters in London.Beeld Alamy Stock Photo

This is evidenced by a confidential internal investigation by two diverse attorneys for Howlett Browns, the British newspaper Watchman I managed to lay hands.

Amnesty International’s General Secretariat staff in London are reporting traumatic incidents, such as colleagues using the N-word or the profane words of people of Pakistani origin in front of them. Black employees also face daily racism, such as touching their hair, making derogatory comments, or not being raised too high for them.

Employees with a religious background feel excluded from company outings that end in the cafe, as they do not feel at home for religious reasons. Making room for prayer and other religious obligations during work hours is met with “insensitive” reactions.

color blind

Amnesty International has investigated racism following the death of George Floyd from police brutality last summer. At the time, employees complained about the organization’s slow response. They were already dissatisfied with the inherent racism and “colonial power relations” of the human rights organization operating worldwide.

However, complaints about this are suffocating in the organization’s official corporate culture, which claims to be “color-blind”: it is precisely because of this defense that Amnesty takes no regard for problematic behavior at work. As in many white companies, disguised racism is blamed by Amnesty International as a “joke”. Anyone posing for the privileged position of unconcerned colleagues is “hypersensitive.” For example, a complaint of “reverse racism” by an employee who felt discriminated against by a colleague’s white privilege allegations was dismissed as unfounded without discussing the privileges of white staff at Amnesty International. “Addressing someone about racism appears to lead to more violent reactions than the racist behavior itself,” the report said.

Racism and prejudice

Researchers argue that the structure of the organization established in 1961 still has colonial features that contribute to perpetuating racism and prejudice. Amnesty International offices in the white western strongholds dominate the expense of branches in the Global South. Despite attempts to reorganize these structures, there is a lack of trust among “strong” offices in the UK or US in the staff of the regional offices.

This leads to difficult situations, as fewer expert personnel shift from “strong offices in the north” to third parties behind the backs of regional office staff. In fact, meticulous fieldwork would be regularly spoiled by white workers airlifted. The advancement and promotion opportunities for strong office staff are limitless, while staff in regional offices are less likely to advance internationally.


Specifically, because they believed they were part of an organization that advocates for equality around the world, the employees in question became more angry and disappointed with their employer. “The pardon is external to Amnesty, but internally the organization has a completely different face,” commentary returns regularly in the investigation.

The amnesty, which has been discredited in the past A “toxic” institutional culture of racism, discrimination, and harassment, Promised to improve response.

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