By JR on Sunday, February 20, 2011
As Oliver Kamm said last year: "Disastrously for itself and those who depend on its support, Amnesty is no longer the friend of liberty". More on the moral decay of Amnesty here
Human rights group Amnesty International has paid more than £500,000 in a secret pay-off to its former chief, it was revealed yesterday. The organisation paid out another £300,000 to its deputy leader, who quit at the same time in December 2009. Amnesty declined to discuss the payouts to former secretary general Irene Khan and her deputy Kate Gilmore. But the scale of the payments throws a harsh light on the group’s management decisions following years of increasing criticism.
The charity runs appeals for donations from the public, which include attempts to inspire money-raising campaigns among young people and in schools.
The payment to Bangladeshi-born Miss Khan, who has a reputation as a campaigner against poverty, was more than four times her annual salary of £132,490.
Peter Pack, chairman of Amnesty’s international executive committee, said: ‘The payments to outgoing secretary general Irene Khan shown in the accounts of AI (Amnesty International) Ltd for the year ending March 31 2010 include payments made as part of a confidential agreement between AI Ltd and Irene Khan. ‘It is a term of this agreement that no further comment on it will be made by either party.’
Miss Khan, the first Muslim to lead the organisation, has been criticised from the political left for her failure to do more to protest about abuses by American and British troops in Iraq, and notably for a muted response to the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.
Other critics accused the 54-year-old of doing too much to highlight abuse at Guantanamo Bay and too little to expose its inmates alleged links with the Taliban and terror groups.
Miss Khan also failed to impress all of Amnesty’s supporters with her emphasis on alleviating poverty. She insisted that human rights can only follow economic rights, but some believed Amnesty should have concentrated on political rights. Miss Gilmore ran into controversy in 2007 when Amnesty appeared to suggest that abortion was a human right. Roman Catholic supporters turned against her. Miss Gilmore insisted abortion was a right for women who had been raped.