Amnesty International

Scope and Content

Amnesty International began depositing these papers in the Centre in 1974. From January 2000 the additions (including some dated 1999) are arranged according to Amnesty International's own reference system. Documentation received before that date was arranged under the Centre's own system with the reference MSS.34. The later deposits have been differentiated as MSS.34B. A vast number of short press releases and other brief statements are deposited, as well as publications, leaflets etc. Amnesty have created codes for all possible categories but not all codes have, as yet, been used. This catalogue lists those countries and sections that we hold material for, with covering dates, but itemises only a sample of our holdings (usually the more substantial pieces). All are available to readers. Researchers wishing to order the complete set of releases concerning a country or section (including those not listed below) can do so by quoting 034B/4/ followed by the appropriate abbreviation (e.g. AFR for Africa) and the country or section number (e.g. 12 for Angola), followed by year as required.

NB: Amnesty's ref nos (and therefore the MSS.034 ref) have the year at the end AFTER the item no.

The catalogue for the earlier section (1974-1999 ) is not yet available online; a paper catalogue listing a sample of our holdings is available at the Centre.

Administrative / Biographical History

Amnesty International was established in 1961 with the primary object of mobilising public opinion in defence of men and women who are imprisoned because their ideas are unacceptable to government authorities in their country. It has members all over the world and, in the words of its first annual report "has been formed so that there should be some central, international organisation capable of concentrating efforts to secure the release of these 'Prisoners of Conscience' and to secure world wide recognition of Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". To this end it produces a variety of background publications, commercial publications, periodicals and information sheets.

Reference: T. Claudius and F. Stepan, 'Amnesty International: Portrait einer Organisation ' (Munich, 1976); E. Larsen, 'A flame in barbed wire: the story of Amnesty International' (London, 1978); J. Power, 'Against oblivion - Amnesty International's struggle for human rights' (London, 1981, ref. 34X/2).

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See

Acquisition Information

The papers are deposited by Amnesty International.

Other Finding Aids

Link to Modern Records Centre catalogue:

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.


Further deposits are not being taken; the latest documents are availbale on the Amnesty website.

Related Material

Amnesty International's 1974-1999 documentation is held in the Centre at the reference MSS.34. The catalogue for this part of the archive goes to item level. The catalogue is available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom, at the National Register of Archives in London and in Chadwyck-Healey's 'National Inventory of Documentary Sources'. A microfiche copy of this documentation is also held at Marylebone Information Service, 109-117 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5PF (open 7 days).

Amnesty International's web pages include lists of its documentation and some text from 1996. The Country Dossiers are published on microfiche by Inter Documentation Company bv (IDC) of Leiden. An index to the documents is micropublished by IDC.

Amnesty International's full archives are at the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam. They have the full set of documents, both public and internal, as well as the departmental records, the results of an oral history project carried out some years ago and a collection of Amnesty posters. Many of the documents are on microfilm. Most of these holdings are not yet open for research. They will be released according to Amnesty International's policy document.