Amnesty is not a charity, but regards itself as a humanitarian organisation. Under charity law, its objects are political, as it seeks to change law and government policy in various countries. It does have a charitable arm for education and research activities, which fall explicitly within the ambit of charity law.
Christian Aid is a registered charity whose objects include the alleviation of poverty. It is permitted by its trustees to spend 12-13 per cent of its income on campaigning and education work, which is often linked to overseas partners funded by Christian Aid. It has campaigned on Third-World debt, labour standards in developing countries and ethical farming sources for supermarkets.
National Anti-Vivisection Society
The society lost its charitable status in 1947 and is now a non-profit-making company limited by guarantee.
New Economics Foundation
The foundation is a charity with objectives relating to research and education for a just and sustainable economy.
Oxfam is a charity with a trading subsidiary. It undertakes a wide amount of campaigning. Joss Saunders, company secretary, says that Section 5 of the Charity Commission's guide, detailing what political influences are allowed, is of huge assistance in mounting campaigns and ensuring Oxfam is acting in pursuance of its objectives.
The types of campaigns Oxfam is involved with include pressing the Government to regulate arms exports from the UK and to licence UK arms brokers. This is a joint campaign with Amnesty. Oxfam says that this is in pursuit of its objectives, because in war-torn countries the civilians they are trying to help are killed by small arms. Saunders stresses that in running such campaigns, Oxfam cannot raise emotive arguments and all evidence must be well-founded and based on research or direct experience, in accordance with the Charity Commission's guidance.