“Profoundly troubling”: report reveals “toxic” culture at Amnesty

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Review coincided with a probe into suicide of two staff members

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7th February 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A damning report has uncovered a “toxic” working environment at Amnesty International.

The review found that it has contributed to physical and mental health issues in a third of their staff.

Conducted by the Konterra Group on behalf of the charity, the probe found that a majority of health issues were caused by an "adversarial culture", failures in management and workload pressures.

The people and organisational development department at the charity was singled out in the review for failing to "fulfil its key roles as an impartial adviser to staff and the guardian of workplace standards".

Konterra’s review was commissioned alongside reviews into the suicides of two Amnesty International workers last year.

The first examined the suicide of Gaëtan Mootoo, 65, a researcher in Amnesty International’s Paris office, who cited problems with his workload in a note he left behind.

It found that the charity had not breached its duty to provide a safe system of work under English law.

Another review, into the death last year of Rosalind McGregor, a 28-year-old intern working in the charity’s Geneva office and previously at its offices in Mexico City, highlighted concerns about the charity’s monitoring of her workload but concluded there was no breach of the charity’s duty of care.

Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of Amnesty International, said it was "abundantly clear that there is a deep deficit in our duty of care and support to staff".

He said: "To hear our employees speak of a culture of secrecy and mistrust where discrimination, bullying and abuse of power have been condoned is profoundly troubling.

"The senior leadership team takes shared responsibility for the climate that emerged, where colleagues felt, or continue to feel, undervalued and unsupported, and we are truly sorry.

"But an apology is not enough. This lesson has been learnt. We need to look after each other and develop compassion and mutual care to help Amnesty International become the uplifting community it needs to be."