Amnesty International Publishes Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Scots

To mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10th December 2008, Amnesty International has produced a commemorative poster of the UDHR in Scots, which will be presented to the First Minister, Alex Salmond, tomorrow afternoon (10th December).

The shortened text for the poster has been translated for Amnesty International by Colin Donati, of the Scots Language Society. Mr Donati has also translated the full text of the UDHR into Scots, which has now been accepted by the United Nations and will be added to their list of over 300 languages in which the document is available.

John Watson, Amnesty International’s Scottish Programme Director, said:

“It is fitting to see the humanitarian principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights finally available in Scots, the language of Robert Burns. The sentiments in this visionary text – such as the opening “Aw sowels is born free and equal” – apply to us all and we hope that the familiar resonance of Scots will help to bring this message home to the people of Scotland.”

Colin Donati added:

“The UDHR is the most translated document in the world, so it is great to see Scots taking its place among the other languages of the world on the UN website. Amnesty International’s poster of the UDHR in Scots is also an excellent initiative, which will help to promote both the vision of the UDHR and the Scots language.”

Signed on 10th December 1948, the UDHR set out for the first time in a single document the fundamental rights to which everyone, everywhere is entitled – including the right to life, liberty, security, freedoms of opinion, association and expression and the right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.


An MP3 file of several of the UDHR articles in Scots is attached, courtesy of the Scottish Language Dictionaries -

John Watson: 07818 453 070 br />Out of office hours: 07721 398984

Notes to editors
More information about the UDHR at

The Declaration articles featured on the attached MP3 file are as follows (with English translation):

Airticle 1
Aw sowels is born free and equal in dignity and richts
(All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights)

Airticle 3
Awbody hes the richt tae life, liberty and bield
(Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person)

Airticle 5
Nane sall be pit tae torture or thole cruel, inhuman or bemeanin haunlin or punishment
(No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment)

Airticle 11
Awbody hes the richt tae be thocht innocent til pruved guilty accordin tae law
(Everyone has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to the law)

Airticle 18
Awbody hes the richt tae freedom o thocht, conscience and religioun
(Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion)

Airticle 25
Awbody hes the richt til a standart o life fit for their guid health and heal, especially mithers and bairns
(Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for their health and well-being, especially mothers and Children's rights)

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