The Finnish branch of the human rights watchdog Amnesty International has lost around 400 donors, following the recent release of a controversial Ukraine war report, head of Amnesty’s Finland office Frank Johansson said in an interview with Finnish news channel MTV Uutiset on Aug. 11.
Johansson added that these figures are preliminary, and that so far the organization has lost only around 1% of its donor base.
While this is not the first time that Amnesty has faced backlash from its patrons, the current donor outflow is the largest in 32 years.
According to Johansson, the report did not properly contextualize its findings, and was too sparse on Amnesty’s unequivocal condemnations of Russia’s conduct in Ukraine.
“This was a massive communication blunder, which led to a loss of trust in Amnesty’s work,” said Johansson.
The controversial report, released by Amnesty International on Aug. 4, accused Ukraine’s armed forces of “breaching the norms of war” by deploying troops at civilian facilities and residential areas.
Ukrainian officials rebuked the organization, suggesting that the report is an example of “victim blaming,” and that it plays directly into Moscow’s anti-Ukraine propaganda efforts.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that by omitting numerous Russian war crimes and atrocities, Amnesty’s report attempted to shift the responsibility for civilian deaths in the war from the aggressor to its victim.
Amnesty’s Ukrainian branch said it did not have a hand in preparing the report. Amnesty International Ukraine head Oksana Kovalchuk resigned on Aug. 5, citing her inability to continue working for the organization in good faith.