Amnesty International UK ‘institutionally racist’, inquiry concludes

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Amnesty International UK ‘institutionally racist’, inquiry concludes

Damning 106 page inquiry into the charity, which has labelled Israel 'apartheid' in its own reports, suggests Amnesty UK has failed to embed principals of anti-racism into its own DNA

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Two models stand on a "barbed-wire beach" outside the offices of TripAdvisor in Soho Square, central London, as part of an Amnesty International campaign calling on the firm and other travel companies to stop listing rooms and activities in Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories. (Photo credit: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire)
Two models stand on a "barbed-wire beach" outside the offices of TripAdvisor in Soho Square, central London, as part of an Amnesty International campaign calling on the firm and other travel companies to stop listing rooms and activities in Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories. (Photo credit: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire)

Amnesty International UK is “institutionally racist” and faces bullying issues within the organisation, an inquiry into the charity has concluded.

The findings of management consultancy Global HPO’s inquiry, which were published in full on Thursday, also accused Amnesty of failing to embed principals of anti-racism into “the DNA” of the organisation.

In a damning indictment of the charity, the 106 page document suggested white applicants were more likely to be appointed to roles within the charity than all other groups, with black people least likely to be given a job.

Amnesty has repeatedly sparked anger with the Jewish community over recent years by publishing a series of reports into Israel that have concluded it to be an apartheid state.

But the independent report into Amnesty concluded:”“A perception that has not been addressed and as such manifests in the negative cultural paradigm of exclusion and racism at AIUK.

“There is a need for the impact of this legacy to be acknowledged and addressed as part of the transition to becoming anti-racist.”

It continued:”“Our view is that ‘white saviour, middle class and privileged’ is a perception that forms an important part of the AIUK narrative about its history and legacy.”

The inquiry called for training to improve equality monitoring at the organisation, with attention needed on retaining staff from black Caribbean and black African staff.

The report also describes the charity as having “a culture that bullies” and points out that it had repeatedly failed to take action following a number of similar reviews in the past.

It listed nine previous action plans which the charity had been the subject of in recent years, but worryingly says AIUK “had not responded/acted consistently on any of them”.

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s chief executive, said: “It is critical in the change that we need to make at Amnesty UK that we acknowledge that this report makes abundantly clear the scale of the transformation we must make to change lots about Amnesty UK as a place to work.

“GHPO have helped us to identify where we must make changes and we will not shy away from this work, especially as it is clear it is long overdue.

“I am glad that the inquiry team have recognised that some improvements have started here in the last year, but that doesn’t in any way diminish the seriousness of the findings nor should it make us at all complacent about the task ahead of us.

“But I do believe that with a transformation we can make Amnesty UK an example of a cause-driven organisation with an excellent working environment and culture for all colleagues.”

Deshmukh, who joined the charity in May last year, said the charity would not shy away from the work it needed to do, which was clearly “long overdue”.

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