Darfur, human rights, Amnesty International, NGO, globalization


This article provides an analysis of Amnesty International and its efforts to establish a global, human rights-based narrative on the mass violence in Darfur, Sudan, during the first decade of the 21st century. Interviews show how Amnesty’s narrative resembles that of the judicial field. Respondents insist that justice, once achieved, will help reach other goals such as peace. Relative unanimity in representing the violence supports the notion of globalizing forces highlighted by the world polity school, but national conditions also color narratives, in line with recent literature on national contexts of INGO work and a long tradition of neo-Weberian scholarship. Amnesty workers within national sections are aware of their government’s traditions, interests and policy foci when they seek to influence government policies. They are also mindful of nation-specific carrier groups, cultural sensitivities and business interests, when they attempt to mobilize volunteers and the public and raise funds. Such mindfulness, a precondition for effective work at the national level, resulted in nation-level variations of global human rights-based representations of mass violence in Darfur.