Challenging discrimination at the heart of Amnesty International

by Aisha J

Challenging discrimination at the heart of Amnesty International

by Aisha J
Aisha J
Case Owner
I worked for Amnesty International from 2005 until I was sacked in May 2022 after whistleblowing about discriminatory practices. Now I'm taking my case to the UK Employment Tribunal.
days to go
pledged of £50,000 stretch target from 452 pledges
Pledge now
Aisha J
Case Owner
I worked for Amnesty International from 2005 until I was sacked in May 2022 after whistleblowing about discriminatory practices. Now I'm taking my case to the UK Employment Tribunal.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: Sept. 22, 2023

Update on my case against Amnesty International

Dear supporters, 

Assalamu alaikum and hi to everyone.

I just wanted to update everyone on my case. This is not an appeal for more funds. 

As you know, my case was heard at the Central London …

Read more

Who am I? - My name is Aisha. I worked for Amnesty International from 2005 until I was sacked by them in May 2022 after whistleblowing about discriminatory practices. Speaking truth to power is not confined to calling out human rights violations by governments. I believe I was sacked for exposing wrong practice in the organisation and that it is in the public interest for people to know about it.  

Summary - In May 2021, Amnesty International gave its highest possible public support to a far-right nationalist who had called for violence against Muslims and racist hatred towards many others over the course of his political career.

As a long-standing member of staff, I felt sure this was something the organisation had never done before, and that it flew in the face of the organisation’s history and principles. As a Muslim and ethnic minority, I no longer felt safe at work and when I spoke about my distress and concern, I was gaslit by colleagues and managers, ridiculed by senior leadership and eventually forced out of my job.

The public trust Amnesty to adhere to their own high standards. Historically the organisation does not adopt people as Prisoners of Conscience if they have explicitly advocated hatred or advocated or used violence. Controversially, Nelson Mandela was denied Prisoner of Conscience status for this very reason.

However, in 2021, Amnesty called Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, a Prisoner of Conscience, even though he had called for violence against Muslims, as well as inciting racist hatred towards immigrants and ethnic minorities over several years.

Of particular concern to me was a carefully-curated video made by Navalny in 2007, in which he uses dehumanising language to refer to Chechens as “giant cockroaches and aggressive flies.” Arguably using ‘home’ as an analogy for ‘homeland’, he asks how one rids one’s home of such pests. Immediately after he says this, an actor dressed in grossly stereotypical Muslim attire enters the screenshot. Navalny points a gun at him and shoots him at least twice. The ‘Muslim’ falls down ‘dead’. Completely unphased, Navalny places his gun in the ‘Muslim’s’ back and says to the camera, “In such cases, I recommend using a gun.”

Crucially, Navalny made the video, and at least one other similarly offensive one, to launch his far-right nationalist movement, after being expelled from his political party due to his far-right activities. He rose to political prominence in Russia as a certified far-right, anti-immigration racist and xenophobe who shared platforms with neo-Nazis and advocated violence as well as racist hatred for many years. He has never publicly apologised for most of his deeply offensive views and statements.

I was the only Muslim working on the team that was promoting Navalny’s case and although some colleagues sympathised with my extreme distress and supported me, senior management and many of my close and trusted colleagues stayed silent or expressed support for Amnesty’s decision. After 17 years of committed work, I felt disregarded, anxious and very unsafe.

I simply could not stand by while the world’s largest human rights campaigning organisation, that I had dedicated nearly two decades of my life to, reneged on their responsibilities to uphold their own standards, to the detriment of vulnerable ethnic minorities and Muslims.

Only months before this incident, an independent report found Amnesty to be systemically and institutionally racist. Despite its leadership publicly and internally stating their commitment to being anti-racist,  a known and established racist has been endorsed at the highest levels of the predominantly white-led organisation. 

When I raised a grievance internally, Amnesty refused to process it, so I was forced to seek an alternative remedy and took my case to the Employment Tribunal. My GP signed me off work due to stress and anxiety.

Despite my medical notes, Amnesty said they could dismiss me unless I returned to work but I saw no way of doing so while they refused to look into my complaint about designating Navalny a Prisoner of Conscience. They reiterated that I was in no position to challenge the decision. On 9 May 2022, my employment was terminated, on the basis that the relationship had broken down.

The experience has taken a huge toll on my professional and personal life. I remain unemployed and emotionally and psychologically deeply affected but determined to speak truth to power and expose their wrongdoing.

Call to action - I am raising funds to pay for my legal costs. My aim is to hold Amnesty International’s leadership to account for their decision to support Alexey Navalny as a Prisoner of Conscience and the impact such decisions have on already vulnerable ethnic minorities and Muslims more broadly. I am also seeking redress for the impact it has had on me personally, and the failure by Amnesty to adequately address my concerns, which resulted in me being dismissed from a job I was wholly committed to for more than 17 years.

What are we trying to achieve? This case is an effort to call out the systemic and institutional racism which persists at the highest levels of Amnesty International. 

This is essential because the systemic inequalities and injustices that so many people from vulnerable minorities suffer will persist unless they are challenged and the perpetrators held accountable. 

I believe there is no case like Navalny's in the organisation’s history. In fact, many have been denied Prisoner of Conscience status for far less egregious actions. For example, the organisation denied Prisoner of Conscience status to detained Ugandan opposition leader, Bobi Wine, due to homophobic statements he had made five years earlier, even though he had publicly apologised for them.

What is the next step in the case? My case will be heard in the Central London Employment Tribunal at the end of March - early April. I am currently raising funds to secure my legal fees. 

How much we are raising and why? 

My initial target is for £2,500, my overall target will be £50,000+. 

High legal fees make it impossible for many to pursue justice allowing systemic discrimination and malpractices to endure. Your kind donations will help pay for my legal fees and hold Amnesty to account for the legitimisation of a far-right racist at the very highest levels of the organisation. Every single donation helps, even £5 which is the minimum amount processed by this platform.

All donations will be administered by my legal team. I am being represented by Rahman Lowe Solicitors.

Thank you so much for all and any support you are able to offer. I am truly grateful. 

Update 8

Aisha J

Sept. 22, 2023

Update on my case against Amnesty International

Dear supporters, 

Assalamu alaikum and hi to everyone.

I just wanted to update everyone on my case. This is not an appeal for more funds. 

As you know, my case was heard at the Central London Employment Tribunal at the end of March and early April this year. 

We heard in May from the Tribunal that all of my claims were dismissed. This was a huge shock to me and my legal team, particularly given we had won the first preliminary hearing, regarding my disability. We are appealing the judgment. I apologise for the delay in communicating this to you all. 

My treatment by Amnesty and their lawyers at the hearing was beyond shocking. The same colleagues that I'd worked with for decades, came to court and claimed I was not a Muslim. This was Amnesty's pitiful attempt to undermine my Islamophobia and discrimination claims - to deny my core identity. The world's largest so-called human rights organisation publicly tried to deny that I am Muslim in order to delegitimise my claims of institutional islamophobia - and this in an era of identity politics! 

I was subjected to the most ignorant and offensive line of questioning from Amnesty's lawyers, including whether or not I used the prayer room at work and if my [dead Irish] mother converted to Islam, what my husband's religion is and what my children's religion is. Imagine the invasion of my right a private life from Amnesty and their lawyers, DWF Law. 

My appeal was lodged in June and we are waiting to hear if it will be accepted. 

This period has been hard for so many reasons. Principally, it's been a very unpleasant eye-opener into the nature of systemic discrimination and the way in which it persists in the interests of a minority. I will continue to do what I can to expose it. 

Thank you again for all the generosity and support.

Update 7

Aisha J

April 10, 2023

Tribunal hearing is over; now awaiting the judgement. No more donations needed.

Dear all, assalamu alaikum [peace be upon you],

Thank you and jazakallah khair [may God reward you] for all your amazing help, super-kind donations, wonderful words of support, solidarity and encouragement. The hearing at the Central London Employment Tribunal ran from 28th March - 5th April 2023. 

Amnesty brought seven witnesses to the hearing, including the Secretary General of the entire organisation, Agnes Callamard, and the Deputy Secretary General, Kyle Ward, as well as the Head of HR, Jill Berry, and the Director of the programme I worked in, Marie Struthers. 

I am confident we were able to present a clear picture about their decision, in May 2021, to give their unprecedented and highest-level support to far-right nationalist and racist, Alexey Navalny, despite his sustained and systematic advocacy of racist hatred and violence over several years, which he still refuses to apologise for or recant. Amnesty failed to provide another case like this in their 60+ year history and that's because it has never happened before. Their highest-level support is a betrayal of the organisation's core principles on hatred and violence. 

As a Muslim, I called this out immediately, as I believed it put me, my family, my community, Muslims more broadly, ethnic minorities (/the global majority) and all those who suffer from discrimination at increased risk. The link between hate speech and hate crime is established and irrefutable. 

I was sacked a year later. 

Amnesty stand by their decision on Navalny. 

Amnesty's response in the Tribunal hearing was one of the most sinister experiences of my life. As non-Muslims witnesses, being represented by non-Muslim lawyers, they took a collective approach to claim that I am not a Muslim to try to undermine my claim against them. The basis of their claims was a long-standing interest I have in Buddhist philosophy and meditation. I was subjected to the most shameful and ignorant line of questioning on this, which showed zero understanding of Islam, and included prying into my private life, including the religion of my dead, Irish mother. This came as a total ambush at the hearing as at no point in the two years since I first called them out, had any of them approached me regarding my religious identity or seeking clarity about it. Furthermore, confidential meeting notes that were disclosed in the court revealed them privately referring to me as "the only Muslim in the team."

It gets worse. It gets darker. They not only denied I am a Muslim, they brought 'evidence' to that effect. It was, hands down, the most harassing experience of my life.  

We are now awaiting the judge's decision and, in the meantime, I am in touch with mainstream media outlets who are following the story. 

Thank you, jazakallah khair [may Allah reward you], everyone, for all your support and generosity. It would have been impossible to hold Amnesty to account for their unforgivable and indefensible position on Navalny without everyone's kindness and generosity. Institutional islamophobia/discrimination must be challenged wherever it rears its ugly head. 

Remember, this case follows on from the independent report which found Amnesty to be systemically and institutionally racist. It is not an isolated incident but symptomatic of a much bigger systemic issue. 

I will keep everyone posted. There is no more need for donations. 


Update 6

Aisha J

March 16, 2023

A huge thank you to everyone. Tribunal dates and address too!

Dear all, assalamu alaikum [peace be upon you],

Wow! Wow! Wow! 

I am overwhelmed by the generosity, support and words of encouragement of each and every person. A huge thank you to everyone. I know my brother Rahim's video has really had an impact and I'm very grateful for that. 

When Amnesty took the decision they did, to give their highest support to a far-right, nationalist and racist who spent years advocating hatred and violence towards non-ethnic Russians, immigrants and Muslims, I knew how serious it was and that it had to be exposed. The support of charities like Islamophobia Response Unit, and the affordable and dedicated legal advice of Fairmont Legal Solicitors and now the representation of Rahman Lowe Solicitors is all coming together to bring me to the final hearing. 

The final hearing will take place at the Central London Employment Tribunal in London from 27 March and is scheduled for 9 days. I hope to be able to provide a schedule of proceedings nearer the time as I'm very happy to hear that many people want to attend, including the media. 

I have been building to this moment for nearly two years. I am sincerely grateful and deeply indebted to everyone who has supported me and to each and every one of you who has donated at this time when there are so many calls for donations. 

One last thing for anyone interested in case law, an HR magazine has published an article reflecting on the implications of my first win against Amnesty, at the preliminary hearing which took place on 1 February:

Thank you, jazakallah khair [may Allah reward you],


Update 5

Aisha J

March 14, 2023

Rahim Jung's video appeal for this Crowdfund

Hi everyone, assalamu alaikum, 

People have been asking for Rahim's video appeal for this Crowdfund. 

It can be found here:

When sharing it, please do so with the main link to the Crowdfund:

I am so grateful for everyone efforts and generosity. 

Thank you/ jazakallah Khair. 

Insha'Allah, we will match the target. 

Update 4

Aisha J

March 13, 2023

Two weeks to go, thank you and jzk to everyone - we can get there!

Dear everyone, assalamu alaikum [peace be upon you], 

It's two weeks to go until my 9-day hearing against Amnesty International at the Central London Employment Tribunal. 

I know my brother, Rahim, has posted an appeal to the Muslim community for donations. I see those donations are coming in and I want to thank each and every one of you. I am deeply grateful. I know there are so many causes that need supporting right now. Every £5 helps and collectively, insha'Allah [God willing], we will get there. 

As Rahim said in his video, my case is about standing up to systemic Islamophobia and the whitewashing of a prominent figure's hateful racist politics by those who are not effected by the hate. We must stand together and call this out. 

A documentary film about Navalny won an Oscar last night and previously a BAFTA. It's already bad enough that cultural institutions chose to plug a narrative that fails to disclose Navalny's far-right racist politics and incitement to racist hatred and violence. 

When the world's leading human rights organisation starts to apply the same double standards and hypocrisy, we're in trouble and they must be held to account.

The donations from each and every one of you is ensuring accountability happens. 

Thank you, jazakallah khair [may Allah reward you],


Update 3

Aisha J

March 6, 2023

I won a preliminary hearing against Amnesty. Now for the main hearing!

Dear all,

Thank you to each and every one of you for your continuing very generous donations and kind words of support.

With only three weeks to go, I have some very good news! I won a preliminary hearing against Amnesty that took place at the Central London Employment Tribunal on 1 February 2023.

First Employment Tribunal judgment

The hearing was to establish if I qualified as disabled (as set out in Article 6 of the Equality Act 2010) in the lead up to being sacked by Amnesty, due to the stress and anxiety the whole situation placed me under.

The judgment only came through recently.

I am over the moon that the judge concluded that I did qualify as disabled at that time. He states that Amnesty’s decision to reinstate Alexey Navalny’s Prisoner of Conscience status had a profound effect upon me given, I allege, that it happened despite Navalny’s "advocacy of racist violence towards Muslims."

Furthermore, the judge also found that Amnesty’s decision on Navalny caused me to suffer from anxiety, stress, a sense of isolation and compromised ability to carry out my day-to-day activities, including work, over a sustained period – hence the conclusion that I qualified as disabled.

This is a very positive boost to my case ahead of the hearing on 27 March.

Media coverage

I’m also very happy that media interest in my case is continuing to expose the systemic discrimination at the heart of Amnesty’s leadership.

Weeks to go

With only three weeks to go before the final hearing, I am still looking to raise another £35,000. It’s an awful lot but each and every donation helps and I am deeply grateful for anything people can offer.

Thank you

Update 2

Aisha J

Feb. 20, 2023

Wow! Nearly a third of the money raised while BAFTA award goes to Navalny film!

Thank you everyone for continuing generosity and words of support. 

I am almost a third of the way to my target with just over a month to go before the hearing at the Employment Tribunal begins. 

As many of you may be aware, my case is about institutional Islamophobia and discrimination within Amnesty. I whistleblew about the organisation's decision to support at its very highest level, a far-right Russian politician who spent years advocating racist hatred and violence against already-vulnerable minorities in Russia, without apology or redress. 

That politician is Alexei Navalny who is currently in prison in Russia, essentially due to the threat he poses to Putin and there's no question he should be freed. A documentary film about him has just won a BAFTA award. It has also been nominated for an Oscar. It is at times like this that political, racial and other biases of supposedly apolitical organisations are exposed

Few in the west are aware Navalny's far-right outright racist politics and advocacy of racist hatred and violence. 

Predominantly white-led organisations speaking to predominantly white audiences enjoy the privilege of being able to turn a blind eye. Those who endure racial, religious or other discrimination, daily, do not. And there are many of us. In fact, we are the majority. 

I hope my case will go in some way to redressing the current #Westwashing and #whitewashing of institutional racism that is endemic in so-called international organisations. 

Please donate what you can. Every £5 helps. 

Thank you!

Update 1

Aisha J

Feb. 10, 2023

Media interest in my case is growing

Dear supporters, 

A big big thank you!!! I can't thank you enough for your generosity - not just financial but emotional too! I am so grateful to everyone for all you've given and for all the kind words of support and encouragement to keep going. 

This journey has shown me that access to justice is hard. The journey is long and financially it is close to impossible. 

The Guardian published an article on my case this week and, thankfully, media interest in the case is growing ahead of the hearing which starts on 27 March:

Media interest is growing because this case is about systemic and institutional discrimination. It is about the ongoing abuse of power and privilege that is so deeply embedded in society. Those who can must speak out if it is ever to change. 

I have a long way to go to reach my target amount. Please keep sharing. Every £5 makes a difference. 

Thank you!


    There are no public comments on this case page.