Today, 10th December 2019, marks the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Ian Fulton, one of our trustees, is a passionate advocate for human rights. His parents fled Nazi Germany in 1939, and found refuge in Scotland.

Ian was born in 1941. A group of people supporting refugees in Glasgow at the time wrote to him, welcoming him –

“We are sorry that as you come into this world, it is not as it should be for you…at this time you can’t help, but when you are older you will help to build a better life for everybody.”

Ian was just a child when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948.

It set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected, and it is the most translated document in the world.


Article 14 (1): Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

The right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution is directly linked to the plight of refugees from the atrocities of the Holocaust. Many countries who helped to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were acutely aware that they had turned Jewish refugees away. Article 14 exists to prevent this from ever happening again, and led directly to the 1951 Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights.

One of our key asks of political parties ahead of Thursday’s election is that EU and international standards of refugee protection must be upheld and fulfilled, regardless of what 2020 brings. We must keep moving forward, together.

Find out what parties are saying in their manifestos about safeguarding refugee rights.

As we enter the 71st year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we look to the good the document promotes and the lives it has saved. The theme of this year is “Youth Standing Up For Human Rights”.

All across the world in 2019, we have been inspired by young people standing up for justice and human rights. You’re never too young to change the world. And you’re never too old either.

“The fight they are fighting is also for you, your parents and all of us are involved in this fight. We all want you to live in peace and happiness.”

Thank you to Ian for your ongoing support and for sharing your story with us.

According to the UNHCR there are 25.9 million refugees worldwide, half of whom are under the age of 18. Behind each number is a person with hopes and aspirations to rebuild their lives. It is our shared responsibility to help people find safety and sanctuary in our communities.

You can help us give that warm Scottish welcome to those that are beginning their new lives here by volunteering, supporting our campaigns or simply signing up for updates on our work.


Image: Markus Spiske

Chris Afuakwah
Author: Chris Afuakwah