No Amnesty for NGO Report on Ukraine (news)

Amnesty International Triggers Global Criticism For Problematic Report Lacking Vital Context

Amnesty International published a new report as part of its ongoing reporting on the war in Ukraine that has been widely criticized as lacking critical context and framing, triggering both internal and external condemnation. The report criticizes the Ukrainian military for violating “international humanitarian law” by putting civilians in harm’s way in relation to where the Ukrainian military places defensive military equipment. While Amnesty (and other INGOs) rightly pride themselves on remaining neutral in evaluating humanitarian and legal violations (in fact HRW made similar assertions in a more thorough report), the framing of this particular report is being criticized for giving ammunition to Russian propaganda, misrepresenting legal norms via vague language, and sidelining Amnesty’s own Ukraine office in its publication. After inflammatory tweets from Amnesty’s Secretary General defending the report, Amnesty’s director of its Ukraine office resigned in protest. (AI’s Secretary General is now facing public calls to resign, and the organization has issued something of an apology.) Large nonprofits should heed this as a cautionary tale of the consequences of a very public fallout from bureaucratic misalignment of process and viewpoints between global/national and regional/affiliate offices.
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