Amnesty International UK appoints ex-UNICEF chief to senior position

Amnesty International UK has appointed Sasha Deshmukh as its permanent chief executive.

Deshmukh, who has led the human rights organization on a temporary basis for the past year, was the former Executive Director of UNICEF UK.

He is AIUK’s permanent successor to Kate Allen, who resigned in May 2021 after 20 years in the role amid concerns the organization was not doing enough to tackle institutional racism.

Deshmukh has been leading the response to the allegations since joining the position of interim president last year.

An independent review published last week concluded that there had been “overarching and regulatory” failures about institutional racism at AIUK.

The report described the charity as having “a culture of bullying” and noted that it had repeatedly failed to take action after a number of similar reviews in the past.

third sector It was revealed in September 2020 that Deshmukh had resigned from UNICEF UK after five months in the role, alleging that he had been subjected to bullying behavior by Douglas Alexander, the charity’s head at the time.

An independent investigation later dismissed allegations of bullying and inappropriate behavior against Alexander, who resigned in the wake of Deshmukh’s departure to allow the investigation to take place.

Prior to joining UNICEF, Deshmukh was CEO of Smart Energy GB, which helps people in Britain understand smart meters, and previously was Executive Director (Strategy) in the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the UK’s health services.

He has also spent more than 10 years in marketing and communications and prior to that was Campaigns Manager for the equality charity Stonewall.

Deshmukh has also been president of the international aid and development charity War Child UK and is on the fundraising regulator’s board of directors.

Sean Raj, Head of Amnesty UK said: “Sacha joined Amnesty UK during the organizational transition and his leadership as interim CEO over the past year has helped improve trust, stability, communication and collaboration across different parts of the organisation.

“I look forward to his transition to the permanent role and to lead us through the next exciting and challenging phase of our work.”

Deshmukh said: “Being part of the AI ​​team over the past year has been an amazing privilege. Being able to help with the AI ​​journey for the coming years makes me feel incredibly lucky.

“I first supported AI as a teenager, many years ago. So I respect and love our history, but I also understand the opportunity and the need for us to evolve and transform for the future.

“We have embarked on the next phase of Amnesty’s UK journey and our human rights work has never been more important.”

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