AI Handbook

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This is the seventh edition of the Amnesty International Handbook. It is a basic reference manual for Amnesty International (AI) members.

While new AI members should not feel obliged to read and to immediately digest all the detailed information in this handbook, members are expected to be generally familiar with the background, policies, and rules that are explained in it.

Every active member of AI should have regular access to a copy of this manual.

Please copy this book

Many parts of this handbook are organized into self-contained units that are designed to encourage copying and widespread use by AI members in their continuing activities.

For example:

  • Chapter 1 can be modified to serve as a pamphlet giving a general introduction to the work of AI
  • relevant parts of Chapter 3 can be photocopied and distributed in the form of handouts to help explain AI's mandate to new members
  • the short units of information in Chapter 5 can be adapted to create practical guides for activists in carrying out specific types of human rights campaigning in their community (to make each of these units as self-contained as possible, certain key guidelines, such as coordination of activities and security of information, are repeated at appropriate points)
  • the Appendix comprises the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a short summary of international human rights law, the AI Statute, a bibliography, and a glossary, each of which can be duplicated and used in the training of AI's members
  • This handbook is an external AI document _ it does not contain sensitive information about individuals or about the organization, and it can be circulated without restriction. Feel free to reproduce any of the material.

For more information

AI is a constantly changing movement. Its diversity and its flexibility help to make the organization strong and effective. Therefore this handbook can never be a definitive document.

To find out about any current policy or to obtain advice on particular problems, consult the appropriate body in the organization. In the absence of specific instructions, direct your question in this way:

  • If there is an AI section or national coordinating structure in your country, contact the section office or the appropriate coordinator. If these people are not able to answer your question, they will forward it to AI's International Secretariat.
  • If there is no AI section or national coordinating structure in your country, contact the International Secretariat direct:

    Amnesty International
    International Secretariat
    1 Easton Street
    London WC1X 8DJ
    United Kingdom

    Telephone (071) 413-5500
    FAX (071) 956-1157

This handbook uses plain language to explain AI's position on human rights questions and how it works to correct these problems. It does not replace the organization's formal policy documents or the texts of its official decisions. To obtain these documents and texts, consult the Amnesty International Policy Manual or your section office.

The handbook has been prepared by the movement's International Secretariat with the help of the English-speaking branch of the Canadian Section. It is available in various languages and local editions. You can obtain copies from the International Secretariat or from your section office.