In a mini-debate as to the reliability of Amnesty International as an objective source, I came across a post on Skeptics SE commenting the issue as follows:

The problem is that, much like global warming, evolution and the like, proponents of the death penalty will renounce it as "obvious liberal bias by bleeding-hearts interest groups" because of it

I've always perceived that the only entitities opposing Amnesty International or disagreeing with them, are entities commiting human rights violations. However, I'm not very much exposed to (neo-)conservative views in the United States. In Europe, I've never seen political opposition against Amnesty International, except from a few governments with a questionable democratic record. This leads me to my question:

In the United States, is there any significant "opposition" against Amnesty International? For example, are there any significant political groups or pressure groups that denounce reports from Amnesty as "liberal bias"?

  • 5
    Putting the comment that motivated it aside, the liberal / conservative aspect to this question seems more of a distraction than anything; why not just ask about US-based criticisms of Amnesty International, as you seem to be doing in your last paragraph?
    – Shog9
    Jan 28, 2013 at 1:38
  • This question is being discussed on our Meta site.
    – yannis
    Jan 29, 2013 at 16:51
  • Somewhat related, human rights are historically a liberal concept to begin with.
    – John
    Dec 18, 2019 at 14:40

3 Answers 3


In the United States there are not any pressure groups organized specifically around the mission of combating Amnesty International, however, the concept of foreign aid in general is something that is traditionally viewed as a more liberal priority. Chiefly this is because many Republican Congressman, especially those who self-identify as "Tea Party" candidates openly campaign for the elimination of the foreign aid budget all together.

As such, Amnesty International is lumped in with a series of other international aid groups that are viewed skeptically by the Republican party in the United States who would prefer to spend the limited money the government has in a domestic capacity. There is also some uneasiness from the conservatives about the role of international organizations in general. They value the sovereignty of the United States quite highly and are hesitant to join international organizations that would purport to make policies and enter into treaties that would remove some of the legislative authority of elected congressman and put it in the hands of non-citizens who are not responsible to the American electorate. This includes entities like the UN and NATO and is also quite similar to the concerns of many in Europe (the UK in particular) with respect to the EU.

Finally, and I would argue least important of the three points, are the divisive positions they have taken in the past with respect to American efforts in Guantanamo, their relative support for Hamas as a peer to Isreal and recent support for abortion in the cases of rape and incest. These are at odds with the foreign policy beliefs of some in the Republican party and help contribute to a general skepticism about the organization. However, since there is no specific effort to combat Amnesty International, I would contend that this is much less important to those with concerns about the group than the broader points about America's position in the world generally.

  • 1
    Also, do you have a cite for the opinion that opposition to AI is somehow financial-based, given the paltry budget drain by AI? I don't doubt that it would get lumped in with everyone else, but AI has a lot more opposition than merely foreign aid issue (which is a very minor political point in USA in general outside Ron Paul) would engender.
    – user4012
    Jan 28, 2013 at 16:03
  • Sorry,I'm downvoting over stressing financial commment. Based on some surface research, even if AI gets US government funding, it's super-miniscule (below $10Mil total, and likely well below $1Mil). This is based on criticism from two DISMETRALLY OPPOSING sources, 1 and 2, both of which try to make a strong case of "AI takes government money" and then come up with laughable amount for it.
    – user4012
    Jan 28, 2013 at 16:10
  • Matter of fact, I can't find a single dollar from US Govt in their report: amnesty.org/en/library/asset/FIN40/012/2010/en/…
    – user4012
    Jan 28, 2013 at 16:23
  • 2
    @DVK, to be clear, the amount of money actually taken by AI is not material to the comment I made, which I tried to make clear in the answer. The issue is the perception foreign aid has in general amongst Republican Congressman. In truth, whole countries do not get much more in foreign aid than that as the entire federal budget sets aside less than $45 billion in foreign aid, or 1.28% of the budget (politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/apr/13/…). Jan 28, 2013 at 16:26
  • 1
    @DVK my answer also explicitly states the tangential relationship the social stances of the group have on its perception. Jan 28, 2013 at 16:27

It could be because Amnesty International supports defensive jihad, although the timing for when AI was considered liberal might be off. Conservatives usually do not like to associate with people whose principles they deplore. This is probably similar to why even though the original mission of the Southern Poverty Law Center was to eliminate hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, them seem to have overstepped so that now almost any group could be considered a hate group.

A simmering dispute over collaboration between Amnesty International and a former Guantanamo Bay detainee with Taliban sympathies has heated up after a senior Amnesty official argued that “defensive jihad” is not antithetical to human rights.


There are many political parties in Europe that do not see Amnesty International as a purely positive influence. Though most do not see them as purely bad.

One example of how Amnesty International is opposed to most mainstream political parties in Europe is that Amnesty International see Burkas and Niqabs as the individual womans choice (based on religion and culture) and not as the mainstream political parties in Europe see it as oppression of women.

Amnesty International has never attacked Islam on issues of oppression of women, but have seen it as a natural consequence of Islamic religion and culture.

It is similar to Amnesty International being extremely quiet on the culture of rape in some parts of India.

Amnesty International seems to be only attacking the old world, and being more than willing to ignore crimes against women in the developing world or in the name of religion.

  • 2
    the mainstream political parties in Europe see it as oppression of women, that seems to be either an overgeneralised statement, or define mainstream too narrowly, and there is no contradiction between "individual womans choice" and "oppression of women".
    – gerrit
    Mar 3, 2019 at 17:30

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