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Amnesty International, which had links to Islamist organizations shuts shop in India.

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

The shadiest side of Amnesty International has come to light recently when Government of India has unearthed a financial scandal that Amnesty International is involved in [1]. Amnesty international that is considered a non-governmental organization in many countries is known for its controversies [2]. The list of controversies include money laundering, excessive pay for management, association with organizations that violated human rights, ideological and foreign policy bias against western and non-western supported countries, interference in the domestic and internal affairs of countries beyond their scope of work, toxic work environment and last but not least its affiliation with terrorist organizations[3].

Law of the land and Financial Fraud by Amnesty India:

Amnesty International has ceased its operations voluntarily when law enforcement agencies froze its bank accounts owing to discrepancies in its financial dealings [4]. The continuing crackdown on Amnesty International India over the last two years and the complete freezing of bank accounts is not accidental. The organization itself is in the radar of law enforcement agencies for its involvement in money laundering especially receiving foreign funds illegally. The audit and subsequent raids conducted in 2018 by the law enforcement agencies of India on its headquarters in Bangalore brought to light the inflow of such foreign funds. In the past, such foreign funds were the routes used by terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaida, ISI and other proxies to carry out terrorist attacks and sabotage the development activities in India. Under such circumstances, government of India has passed a Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment (FCRA) Bill in its parliament which keeps an eye on foreign funding that is aimed at preventing the terrorist attacks like 26/11 and 09/11 and forceful religious conversions, and activities that are against the state and its people [5].

The raids on Amnesty International is not a phenomenon. The same kind of action was taken by the government of India in the year 2006 and in 2009 when it crossed the limit set the central government of India on the inflow of foreign funds in its organization. Interestingly, United progressive Alliance (led by Indian National Congress) was in power which was more left leaning in its dealings [6]. The recurrence of such events in the recent times only reiterates the fact that Amnesty International is involved in the anti-national activities in destabilizing a democratic country like India regardless of who is in power ruling India.

According to the law of the land in India, all non-government organizations regardless of political affiliation have to register themselves under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment (FCRA) Bill [8]; an act passed in the Indian parliament to prevent money laundering under the guise of operating costs for non-government organizations in India. Any non-governmental organization complying with this act are free to carry out its activities within India. This is not case with Amnesty International which has defied the law of the land and has been a repeat offender. Besides, the irregularities found in the financial dealings of Amnesty International, the organization has also been found to cross its limits on many occasions. They range from rallying support for ISIS, Islamists to openly supporting the culprits that hatched plans to murder the prime minister of India [9].

Founding and Funding principles of Amnesty international

In several public declarations, the NGO has said that it doesn’t take government funding. In its guidebook for volunteers, it says, “Amnesty International neither asks for nor accepts direct donations from governments.” On its website, Amnesty declares, “We neither seek nor accept any funds for human rights research from governments or political parties and we accept support only from businesses that have been carefully vetted.” [10]

The founding principles state that Amnesty does not receive funding from any government and should be run merely on fees of membership. As it turns out, Amnesty International does receive funding from governments. As reported by NGO Monitor, in 2009, Amnesty received €2.5 million (approximately 1% of its donations) from governments. The British government was the third largest donor (€800,000). Amnesty also received government funding in 2008 (€1million), 2007 (€1 million), and 2006 (€2 million). Furthermore, Amnesty International received £842,000 in 2011 from the UK Department for International Development as part of a four-year award commencing in 2008 and totaling £3,149,000 [11].

Human rights violations of Amnesty International in India and elsewhere

One activist associated with the NGO, for instance, called for violence against Brahmin community belonging to Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh another non-governmental organization on social media [12]. As if it is not enough, Amnesty India made a woman sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement to settle an equal pay dispute. The NDA bars the woman from talking to the press about her experience working for Amnesty.

Unsurprisingly, Amnesty has a toxic working environment and work culture. An audit into its workplace culture, undertaken by the KonTerra Group and led by psychologists, looked into its working environment following the suicide of two staff members last year and discovered that bullying and public humiliation were routinely used by management as punishment. According to the report, there was widespread bullying, public humiliation, discrimination, and other abuses of power [13].

Offenses and crimes of Amnesty International at International level

At an international level, Amnesty International was also accused of having links with the Taliban. Gita Sahgal, the then head of the gender unit at Amnesty’s international secretariat, london went public in 2010 and condemned the organization for collaborating with Moazzam Begg, a former British inmate at Guantanamo Bay, a US detention camp for terrorists that has been the subject of great controversy, and his organization CagePrisoners [14].

One of the seniors at this organization. Asim Qureshi openly supported anti-Semitism and said, ‘When we see our brother and sisters fighting in Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, then we know where the example lies. When we see Hezbollah defeating the armies of Israel we know what the solution is and where the victory lies. We know it is incumbent upon us, all of us, to support the Jihad of our brothers and sisters in these countries wherever they are facing oppression by the West’[15].

Given their history of allying with radical Islamic fundamentalists, is it any surprise that Amnesty has decided to side with Jihadists on the Kashmir issue? There are more problematic aspects to the way Amnesty International functions.

Amnesty International has been subject of criticism not just in India but also by the UK Department for International Development, the European Commission, the United States State Department, and other governments. Governments and their supporters have criticized Amnesty's criticism of their policies, including those of Australia [16], Czech Republic [16], China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Iran, Israel [17], Morocco[18], Qatar[19], Saudi Arabia, Vietnam[20], Russia [19], Nigeria[20] and the United States[21], Germany [22] for what they assert is one-sided reporting or a failure to treat threats to security as a mitigating factor.


All these facts prove the fact that Amnesty International is self-defeating its purpose and, in its existence, and operations in India and throughout the world. It is also important to understand the fact that law enforcements have only ceased its bank accounts for the illicit activities and has not banned Amnesty India from existing. It is totally the responsibility of Amnesty International for failing

Author: Bhairavi Weber

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