Scottish Declaration on Human Rights

Posted by on 2 February, 2018 | 0 comments

Below is the letter drafted by our human rights adviser John Duncan in response to the unveiling of the Scottish Declaration on Human Rights.

In response to this letter we were given information on how to sign up and can now proudly say we are signatories to the Scottish Declaration. You can find information on how to sign up either personally or on behalf of your organisation here: Any organisation from the public, private or third sectors can sign their support for the Declaration. Big or small, old or new – as long as your organisation works in Scotland, you can sign.


Dear Sir/Ms,

I am writing on behalf of the Scottish Secular Society to express support for the recently unveiled Scottish Declaration on Human Rights. Since our inception 5 years ago we have made human rights a core tenet of our organisation’s identity. We particularly advocate for the freedom of thought, conscience and religion under Article 18 (i) of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights which we believe can only be fully realised when neither religion nor the state exerts undue control over the other. It is a core principle of secularism that the freedom of an individual to follow their faith (or lack thereof) should only be curtailed if that freedom poses a threat to society, the safety of others, or directly infringes others’ rights. Beyond Article 18, the Scottish Secular Society supports the full realisation of human rights as they were laid out under the 1948 Universal Declaration and its associated covenants.

We also share the concerns of the drafting parties of the Scottish Declaration concerning the potential loss of human rights safeguards as a result of Brexit and find the negative rhetoric that often permeates the discussion troubling. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights represent an optimistic vision of international collaboration and a rare moment of international consensus. We would like to offer our support to this optimistic vision by adding our voice to the group of signatories to the new Scottish Declaration and offering it our full support.

Human rights realisation is not merely compatible with the goals of secularism but fundamental to them.


John Duncan, Human Rights Advisor

Scottish Secular Society


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