Democracy in action
Amnesty International is a worldwide organisation based on voluntary membership. We consist of national branches (sections and structures), international networks, affiliated groups and international members.
Amnesty International Australia is governed by a member-elected National Board. As our highest-decision making body, the National Board provides governance, leadership and stewardship as part of a global movement of human rights defenders. It ensures that our global vision, mission and plans, as well as any decisions made at the International Council and National Annual General Meetings (NAGMs), are implemented in Australia.
Seven of the 14 directors of the National Board are elected at Amnesty International Australia’s National Annual General Meeting: the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and three directors.
The remaining directors are called Regional Representatives, and are elected at Branch Annual General Meetings (BAGMs). The Board appoints the National Director who is the Chief Executive Officer responsible for the operations of Amnesty International Australia.
Who finances Amnesty International's work?
The overwhelming majority of our income comes from individuals like you, and allows us to maintain full independence from any governments, political ideologies, economic interests and religions. We accept support only from businesses that have been carefully vetted.
Amnesty International Australia's constitution is its foundational document. It contains our purposes, our relationship with the international movement and details on our governance structures and processes.
Evaluating and reporting on our work, and continually improving how we operate is key to Amnesty’s success. Below is a quick outline of some of the processes established by our members, Board and staff to improve how we function as an organisation.
International Council Meeting (ICM)
The ICM is Amnesty International’s highest decision-making body and a significant element of our democracy in action.
Every two years, our ICM brings together around 500 representatives, members and staff from Amnesty International sections and structures across the world to discuss and agree on our future direction and work.
Branch Annual General Meeting (BAGM)
As written in our Constitution, each of the seven Amnesty International branches holds a Branch Annual General Meeting (BAGM) once a year, usually in May.
BAGMs are an opportunity for branches to consult with supporters about our work and governance, to share national and international developments in the movement and to discuss strategies for effective human rights activism.
National Annual General Meeting (NAGM)
NAGM is a key forum to discuss Amnesty’s governance and processes. Members and voting delegates come together in solidarity to further Amnesty’s human rights work in Australia.
Last year’s NAGM was on 1-3 July in Adelaide. NAGM 2017 will be held on 1-2 July in Sydney. More details to come.
A new approach to membership
At the 2016 NAGM we tabled some key changes to our constitution and membership procedures. As requested by our members, we will be changing our model of membership to one which is more inclusive and accessible.
We will be in touch with all existing members with more details of the new form of membership in 2017.
Other changes to our constitution
Three other changes were made at our 2016 NAGM to our Constitution:
- clarity around when voting rights vest for new members
- the abolition of the Public Fund Committee which had been superseded by another Board Committee
- some minor changes to improve the usability of our Constitution
NAGM also passed three resolutions put forward from Branch AGMs: the first in relation to ongoing human rights violations in West Papua; the second on the importance of a Human Rights Act for Australia, and the third exploring how Amnesty International Australia can reduce its environmental footprint.
We held elections for our National Board; Gabe Kavanagh was elected to the role of National President and Simon Rumore to the role of National Vice President. David Robertson was re-elected to the Board as an ordinary member. Sandra Creamer also joined the Board as a general member. Read more about our Board.
Amnesty International’s statute
Amnesty International’s (AI) purpose and its formal accountability is set out in its Statute. Read the full Statute on amnesty.org.
Our reconciliation strategy
Our vision for reconciliation is of an inclusive Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples thrive and the wider community has a deeper understanding and respect for the Peoples whose land we live on.
This is an Australia where the injustices of the past and extraordinary resilience and courage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is acknowledged, where all Peoples are reconciled and all human rights are upheld.
Being an organisation that campaigns internationally to protect and promote everyone’s human rights, we acknowledge our responsibility to be leaders in achieving reconciliation and social justice in Australia.
Principles for a partnership-centered approach to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities
In our Indigenous campaigning, Amnesty International Australia is committed to a partnership-centred approach with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations. We champion Indigenous-led programs and initiatives, which are key to empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Our method of working for Indigenous rights is based on a set of principles developed by a consortium of agencies including Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory (APONT), National Congress and Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS).
The International Secretariat
Amnesty International's International Secretariat, based in London, is responsible for the majority of the organisation's research and leads our campaigning work.
The International Secretariat (IS) is responsible for:
- Conducting research and reporting
- Ensuring Amnesty International (AI) speaks with one voice globally about the whole range of human rights themes and situations and their impact on people and communities
- Providing expert legal analysis of our research data, forming the basis of expert lobbying of international government organisations
- Providing endorsed materials to sections for campaigning
- Monitoring AI’s financial health
- Supporting and maintaining systems required to ensure that AI is ready to serve 24 hours a day
To find out more about how the IS is run, including Amnesty International’s Statute, INGO Charter and Strategic Plan, visit www.amnesty.org
Amnesty International’s 2020 Council
The 2020 Council is a forum that brings together leaders in business, philanthropy and the arts to increase Amnesty International's visibility in Australia and raise funds to support our work.