Employees of Conscience

This doesn’t surprise me:

Amnesty International is to lose most of its senior leadership team after a report said it had a “toxic” workplace.

The human rights organisation’s secretary-general, Kumi Naidoo, ordered an independent review after two employees killed themselves last year.

In the review one staff member described Amnesty as having “a toxic culture of secrecy and mistrust”.

Amnesty said the senior leadership team accepted responsibility and all seven had offered to resign.

Five of the seven senior leaders, based mainly in London and Geneva, are now believed to have left or are in the process of leaving the organisation.

Amnesty International is just one of an inexhaustible list of institutions captured by the hard left and converted to anti-western political campaigning with its original purpose forgotten. And it appears to have become a truism that the more self-righteous a charity is, and the more it embraces progressive ideology, the worse the people running it are.

In May 2018, Gaëtan Mootoo, 65, killed himself in Amnesty’s Paris offices. He left a note talking of stress and overwork.

A subsequent inquiry found he was unhappy over a “justified sense of having been abandoned and neglected”.

Amnesty International was founded to campaign on behalf of political prisoners who had been abandoned and neglected. Now they’re giving their staff a similar experience.

Many staff gave specific examples of experiencing or witnessing bullying by managers.

There were reports of managers belittling staff in meetings and making demeaning and menacing comments, for example: “You should quit. If you stay in this position, your life will be a misery.”

To be fair, this doesn’t sound much different from the management in any other large organisation. These days the only characteristic that is tolerated is unwavering obedience.

There were multiple accounts of discrimination on the basis of race and gender, and in which women, staff of colour, and LGBT employees were allegedly targeted or treated unfairly.

I’d be willing to bet major oil companies are an order of magnitude better on this score. But who gets held up as the conscience of the world while the other has protesters outside their offices looking to shut them down?

The report also pointed to an “us versus them” dynamic between employees and management.

Which is as common a management style as you’ll find anywhere.

Amnesty is not the only human rights organisation to come under fire for its treatment of employees.

A report earlier this year said that bullying and harassment were commonplace at Oxfam, and last year Save the Children was at the centre of serious allegations of workplace sexual harassment.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. One day someone will confirm the rumours I hear about what working in the United Nations is like.

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14 thoughts on “Employees of Conscience

  1. You appear to have engineered that board-level vacancy at a woke, Geneva-based NGO with a massive budget at just the right time 😉

  2. You appear to have engineered that board-level vacancy at a woke, Geneva-based NGO with a massive budget at just the right time

    Heh, maybe I should put my CV in for head of HR?

  3. Bet they walk into a similar, well remunerated role in a comparable organisation. Moving from one woke make-work position to another ably facilitated by their woke mates. You scratch my back, I’ll cover up your child abuse…

  4. Bet they walk into a similar, well remunerated role in a comparable organisation.

    The very next day, having taken a hefty departure package from the outfit they’re leaving.

  5. Over 100 years ago, the German sociologist Robert Michels wanted to test his hunch that there was an “Iron Law of Oligarchy” which meant that all organisations, institutions and countries gravitated towards being governed by a small undemocratic elite. He had the bright idea of looking for enduring democratic organisation where one might most expect it: in the educated membership of socialist egalitarian parties which were publicly committed to democracy. No prizes for guessing what he actually found there….

    This news about Amnesty and Oxfam is an update of that general principle; the “Iron Law” as it applies to wokeness. You find most organisations are run by shits, because part of shittiness is the desire to dominate other people and impose your will upon them. Oil companies and other organisations probably, as you say, have their fair share of them at the top. One important difference, though, is that these other organisations require other qualities in their leaders. Compared to Amnesty and Oxfam, the work is probably harder and more competitive; there are fewer opportunities to waggle one’s humanitarian credentials in the public spotlight; and there is less access to impoverished third-world fanny.

  6. Your donation of £5 could help a child. Your donation of £100,000 could pay for a severance agreement complete with a gagging clause.

  7. You just have to look at the state of many of these organisations. They have a strong historic brand, which means they’d plenty of money coming in, but their original purpose is also on the way out.

    That’s going to attract people who can make an empire within them, who will grab the money for their own purposes. Maybe they work for an animal charity, hire their son and get him to run a sanctuary from him home. So, he’s going to need a salary to do that, and we need to pay for the premises. The public will donate for years after you start this, based on historic reputation.

    And the reason they change tack is this is about sustaining the empire. There’s a load of charities and pressure groups that more than succeeded their founders goals, but the people in charge now don’t want to wind it up and start a new job.

    One good indicator of the state of a charity is the level of volunteering. Do people give up their time for it? I’m not saying there aren’t some professionals, but if some people will give up their time for it, running stalls at local shows, shaking tins in towns, it’s generally a good un. I’m helping out a local charity and it’s all volunteers.

  8. Sam Vara,

    Companies that produce things tend to have their marketing tested more than charities. Apple might make their products looks sexy in the marketing, but it also has to be a good product. Or you won’t buy more Apple stuff.

    Most people have no idea about what their donations achieve. They don’t have the same feedback. They give to charities because it’s a known brand in an area they want to help. Marketing (and lack of scandal) are everything. Look at how much money was given by people to Kids Company. Did any of them know what was going on, or did Batman-Jelly just have the right sort of image they could buy into?

  9. I say this as someone who used to write letters for them when I was younger and dumber – not that I’m much less dumber now – but I think Amnesty was always a fake charity. How many brutal dictators were ever really persuaded to relent in their persecutin’s because they got some letters from nice, polite people in other countries? I’m reminded of Stalin asking about the Pope: “How many divisions has he got?”

    So far be it from me to defend them, but I do want to register a note of caution in using suicides against them, or anyone. Take this fella’s case:

    In May 2018, Gaëtan Mootoo, 65, killed himself in Amnesty’s Paris offices. He left a note talking of stress and overwork.

    A subsequent inquiry found he was unhappy over a “justified sense of having been abandoned and neglected”.

    He could’ve just retired. Might there not have been something else going on? Work troubles may have been the proximate cause, but there was probably an underlying mental illness.

    People kill themselves for all sorts of reasons, and they usually take them to their grave, assuming they even knew themselves. To pin blame for a suicide on some third party in order to score political points isn’t right. (I don’t like it when the gays and the trannies do it either.)

  10. Add to this the SPLC, which recently fired its head honcho Morris Dees. Apparently the great campaigner against racism and sexism liked to indulge in a little on-the-job racism and sexism himself.

  11. It’s seems the more left-wing an organisation is the more the great their staff like a stereotypical Dickensian factory owner, ma he backed they think that’s how bosses are supposed to behave?

    @Sam Vera- Jerry Pournelle had a similar iron law of bureaucracy, maybe that was where he got the idea from?

    BoM4- very true, Barbados is a prime example (closed its last children’s home in the 70’s iirc)

  12. I had sympathy for Amnesty International when they formed and they did some good work in the ’60s and ’70s, that included their objection to Internment. My sympathy went right out of the window when they decided that IRA murders were equivalent to political prisoners in some of the worst dictatorships in the world.

    A little anecdote because they sowed the seed of what became a very good idea. In the mid ’90s I took a call from them and they asked for my son, who was about 12 at the time. I asked why and they said they wanted to see if he’d make another donation. I pointed out that the only money he had was mine and the answer was no. I had words with him when he came home and explained some facts about donations.

    As he approached his 14th birthday I suggested to my wife that we tot up all the money we spend on him and give him that as a monthly allowance and pay it in to a bank account. The deal was we paid for everything educational but if he spent his allowance on day one that was it or he’d have to get a job. It was interesting to see what he selected to continue spending and what went – crappy Gameboy magazines got the heave-ho for example.

    The other thing I did was during the school holiday after his GCSE’s I told him he had a choice: get a job and no allowance or we would pay his allowance if he worked in a charity shop or similar. He chose the charity shops.

    I don’t know if Amnesty or anyone else got donations, but he does have a strong social conscience as well as a good head for money.

  13. “It’s seems the more left-wing an organisation is the more the great their staff like a stereotypical Dickensian factory owner, ma he backed they think that’s how bosses are supposed to behave?”

    It’s about incentives. When a company makes a profit, the shareholders want a profit. To get a profit, you want good performance. So, shareholders pay good money to management to do that. Management try and stay on top of performance, to make things run better.

    So, retail companies have daily reports about their stores. They know how much went into the tills. They know how many complaints were made. They know how many people walked into the stores. They have mountains of data fed to head office, and they run some algorithms to spot any trouble and get onto it within a few days.

    If you get a bullying or racist manager in a store, they’re going to demotivate staff. Good people will leave and you’ll get the dregs left. The store results will be affected. Shareholders will get poorer. So, behaviours like that get dealt with quickly.

    The private and charity sectors don’t have that motivation. They don’t closely monitor for things they don’t want. They don’t go looking for ways to stop problems before they appear. The scandals around hospitals, Howard Shipman etc are because no-one monitors. Over a 20 year period, Howard Shipman had double the death rate of the next worst GP. In one year, it was 4 times higher. Even when a coroner went to the police and Shipman was investigated because she noticed she was countersigning a lot of forms, he went back to work as a GP without anyone taking a squint at the data. Because well, in a similar situation, do the people in charge of him get disgracefully fired, their pensions taken away? No, they don’t. Nothing happens.

  14. “It’s seems the more left-wing an organisation is the more the great their staff like a stereotypical Dickensian factory owner, ma he backed they think that’s how bosses are supposed to behave?”

    The Left project – they behave like c*nts to people, so they assume everyone else does too. Only they’re the ‘good guys’ so their c*ntish behaviour is justified by their good intentions, and thus excused, while the capitalists are assumed to be c*nts purely for their own selfish ends, so are evil, and must be destroyed.

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