Ciarnan Helferty

The UK chair of Amnesty International has referred himself to the organisations internal standards procedures after Scrapbook revealed a string of jokes at the expense of the mentally ill.

Having been elected to lead the Amnesty board, Ciarnan Helferty went on to post numerous messages on Twitter (read here in full) about schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder:

“I understand why concerns have been expressed and apologise unreservedly for any offence or embarrassment caused by my jokes. This was not my intent and I remain deeply committed to equality, human rights and the effective support of those living with disabilities and mental health problems.”

“I have now referred myself to Amnesty International UK’s internal processes under its Code of Conduct for Board members.”

Suffice it to say Helferty’s comments have not gone down well with Amnesty members, several of whom have threatened to quit what is arguably the world’s most respected campaign organisation.

The row also saw schizophrenia sufferers themselves taking Helferty to task over the hurt such comments can cause:



The next Amnesty UK board meeting is scheduled for 21 September.

  1. From a comedy perspective though, are we just going to ban jokes altogether? Do we think that because someone works for Amnesty (or Samaritans) that they would never tell a joke?

    If we are going to say that all people who have made a mental health joke cannot serve in that sector, you, well, would not have a sector.

    No problem with this story and agree there is stupidity of a high level involved. But hate the relish with which the Left screams about non PC activity…something sinister and Big Brotherish…

  2. So he self referred? Fair play to him. Normally you see people fight stuff before they take the medicine. That said, don’t see what he has done wrong myself. He made a couple of jokes on his personal account… nothing to do with amnesty if you ask me.

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