From a report in today's Sunday Times (£):
Amnesty International has given payoffs totalling more than £860,000 to its two most senior former officials, angering its supporters.
The human rights charity says it had no alternative but to pay Irene Khan, its former secretary general, £533,104 after she completed her second four-year term in 2009.
Khan's deputy, Kate Gilmore, received up to £330,000 at the same time, according to Amnesty's latest financial records.
The combined payments are equivalent to approximately 4% of Amnesty's £21.9m annual budget...
Amnesty insiders are outraged Khan was paid more than four times her annual salary of £132,490. "They basically gave her the equivalent of working for another term," one informed source said. "It is a ridiculous waste of money that will anger a lot of donors."
Amnesty said Khan left because she had reached the end of her contracted term and the payout was made up of elements including "salary, salary increases and relocation expenses", which were in the contract she had signed when she took up her post.
Yesterday a source close to Khan said a significant part of the payments was made as a "settlement for a dispute with the board".
Khan herself may be expected not to realize that in certain things considerations of scale matter morally; she it was, you may remember, who back in 2005 gave out the view that Guantanamo was the 'gulag of our times'. On the other hand, for Amnesty to be devoting four per cent of its annual budget, and sums of this absolute magnitude (half a million smackeroonies), to payoffs of such a kind might give many of its supporters pause. The fact of there being anger within the organization, as well as being a healthy sign, should also give pause to those in the habit of suggesting that supporting human rights means you should shut up rather than criticize human rights NGOs when they foul up.