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Scotland - First Minister welcomes first print of Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Scots

On the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has today (10th Dec) welcomed the production of the first Scots language version of one of the most important documents of the 20th century.

Translated by Colin Donati of the Scots Language Society, the new Scots version of the UDHR has been accepted by the United Nations and will be added to their list of over 300 languages in which the document is available.

The translation of a shortened version of the UDHR text has been arranged by Amnesty International, who presented the First Minister with a framed copy at a photocall at the Scottish Parliament.

Receiving a framed copy of the Scots translation, First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“I am delighted to help mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration. The Scottish Government is wholly committed to promoting and protecting the values enshrined in the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights – fairness, human dignity and equality.

“It is especially appropriate that this copy of the Declaration is in Scots, a language which is as key to Scotland's cultural identity as human rights are to our social and political identity.

“The Universal Declaration is one of the most translated documents in the world. I am therefore especially pleased that today marks not just its anniversary but its translation into the favoured language of Scotland’s favourite son, Robert Burns, whose work often focused on the core values of the Declaration that all human beings are of equal worth and should act towards each other in a spirit of brotherhood.”

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 sound of Scots will help to bring this message home to the people of Scotland.”

Attending the presentation Alan Miller, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said:

“Having the Universal Declaration translated into the Scots language is an excellent initiative, and I’m delighted to be receiving a copy today on behalf of the Commission. ‘'Thir richts is anes that belangs awbody', and this translation is a great way to demonstrate that.”

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.

Amnesty is calling on people to take action to help make the UDHR a reality. It is launching a compelling new online film, “You Are Powerful”, showing the power of individuals to protect the rights of people all over the world. The film initially shows ordinary people in their everyday environments then shows them again, this time amid scenes of human rights abuse, protecting and helping individuals at risk.

The organisation is also asking people to speak up for people whose human rights are under threat by sending them a message of solidarity as part of its Greetings Card Campaign ( ).


A photograph of Alex Salmond receiving the UDHR text is attached, along with an MP3 file of several of the UDHR articles in Scots, 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 br />
The line in Alan Miller’s quote above means “These rights belong to everybody” – the translation is courtesy of the Scots Language Centre.

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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