Toxic Work Environment at Amnesty International

An organization that is about human rights seemingly has discriminatory and harmful practices.

KonTerra Group, a Washington, D.C.-based group completed a review of Amnesty International with psychologists, regarding the well-being of employees, and found appalling data:

“Given Amnesty’s status and mission to protect and promote human rights the number of accounts the assessment team received of ‘bullying’,’racism’, and ‘sexism’ is disconcerting,” the review of the human rights organization’s management practices said.


Women, people of color, and LGBTQ employee complaints were rampant. The survey was completed by 475 staff members, 70% of the workforce.

Of those, 19% had been working at Amnesty for less than a year. 81% had been working with Amnesty for more than one year, and 32% more than five years. 71% of respondents were women.

The organization’s International Secretariat’s staff work in the US and all over the globe, but they are separate from Amnesty International USA.

DiversityInc reached out to KonTerra Group for a statement, but they declined, saying they don’t comment to the media on work they do for clients.

Amnesty International’s management is mostly male.

Many said they were at “significant risk of experiencing secondary stress or vicarious trauma,” and cited bullying, lack of trust, public humiliation, and toxic and adversarial environments.

Employee perceptions were also that diverse staff around the globe that didn’t necessarily speak English were excluded from well-being practices.

The report referred to the “‘martyrdom culture,’ which encourages people to sacrifice their own well-being because of the critical importance of the work.'”

It inevitably results in burn out. Other studies have corroborated this. Two employees within the last year killed themselves, prompting the review.

An Urban Institute report found that most nonprofits devalue benefits and salaries long before changing their operations. “There is this feeling that the mission is so important that nothing should get in the way of it,” Elizabeth Boris, one of the Urban Institute report’s authors, said.

In addition to emotional safety negligence, Amnesty employees contend with death threats and feel they don’t have resources to put sufficient security measures in place to protect themselves.

Almost three quarters of respondents said management didn’t place their well-being as a priority or they weren’t sure if it was.

The review highlighted the importance of EQ, improved relational skills, professional behavior and tone, and conflict management skills. They also encouraged management to foster a sense of safety and trust.

Culture change recommendations included countering a “culture of criticism and blame” with a development culture, doing away with divisive dynamics, allowing mutual feedback, improving the grievance process, and strengthening assessment and recruitment practices.

The Amnesty report said efforts to support employees were ad hoc and piecemeal.

Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty’s secretary general, said the review was “a difficult and profoundly troubling read”. In a statement, he said he would bring forward a reform plan by the end of March.

Latest News

Justice for Breonna not served; The essential rule of politics; Teen serves two months in jail for not doing homework; and More

Justice for Breonna not served as grand jury indicted officer who shot her with wanton endangerment — but not murder. “Outrageous and offensive.” Those were  by attorney to the family, Ben Crump to describe the grand jury’s decision in the March 13 fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. While…

IBM, EEOC, age

EEOC Unearths Years of Intentional Age Discrimination within IBM

After a long investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has revealed that IBM leaders had directed managers to replace older workers with younger ones. Between 2013 and 2018, nearly 86% of those considered for layoffs within the organization were older employees over the age of 40. The investigation showed…

Breathe March in Globe Park, New York, USA - 12 Sep 2020

Cities under attack from the Justice Department; Louisville bracing for the Breonna Taylor murder charge; Twitter reveals its racist side; and More

Justice department attacks three U.S. cities, declaring them anarchist zones — despite most of the protests that took place in each city being peaceful marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a move designed to pull federal funding from New York City, Seattle and Portland, OR, the…

ginsburg, supreme, court

The Lasting Legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Plus the Four Biggest Issues Currently at Stake Following Her Death

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the nation’s highest court for 27 years, passed away Friday, Sept. 18 at the age 87. “As the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality — someone who believed…

Abbott Receives CE Mark for Next-Generation Mitraclip Heart Valve Repair Device to Treat Mitral

Originally posted on Abbott.com – CE Mark for MitraClip G4 offers physicians an innovative next-generation system with more options for mitral valve repair using proven clip-based technology – MitraClip is a first-of-its-kind transcatheter mitral valve therapy, now on its fourth generation, improving further on MitraClip’s history as a safe and…

Cox Crews Mobilized to Reconnect Gulf Coast

Originally published on Cox.com Cox has mobilized its employees with support from outside of the Gulf Coast area to begin assessing damage and restoring service outages caused by Hurricane Sally. In times like this, we understand it is important to stay connected and we want our services to help you…

BASF Invests Into Pyrum as Part of its ChemCyclingTM Project

Originally published on BASF.com  Pyrolysis oil from waste tires as additional raw material source next to oil from mixed plastic waste Investment will support construction of additional production capacities for pyrolysis oil Milestone in establishing a circular economy for post-consumer plastic waste Pyrolysis oil will partly replace fossil feedstock and…