About Us

Lord Duncan McNair is passionate about making life better for all the people of Earth through education, and particularly education related to human rights. In 2015, 800 years after Magna Carta, Duncan founded Peaceful Planet Human Rights Education, a registered British non-profit organisation.

Peaceful Planet upholds the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and intends to operate according to its principles of fairness and inclusivity.

We provide education about human rights for the people of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa with an online human rights education course (Know Your Human Rights) written by Lord McNair. This course is currently available in English, Urdu and Azerbaijani and other languages are planned.

We also offer a pre-published secondary school course from Youth for Human Rights International with Teacher’s Manual, lesson plans and videos booklet so school children can learn about human rights in secondary school. These are available in Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish, Persian and Urdu. Versions of this material in Hindi and Bengali are in preparation.

Family background – a human rights history

Concern for the well-being of others runs in the family. Duncan’s grandfather, Sir Arnold McNair, was the British judge at the International Court of Justice at the Hague in Holland from 1946 to 1955. In 1952, he stood up for the rights of people in Iran when a huge British oil company in Iran (now called British Petroleum) refused to share the oil revenues from Iranian oil with the government and people. The country was led by its democratically elected Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadegh who nationalised the oil production. That means the government owned the oil production not a private company. the British tried to bring a case at the International Court of Justice at The Hague in Holland. Sir Arnold supported the Iranian position and the case was rejected.

The British and American Governments decided on ‘regime change’ and organised a coup against Mossadegh’s Government in 1953. They made the King (Shah) of Iran the dictator. Then, 26 years later, the Shah was overthrown by the hard-line Government of Ayatollah Khoumeni. That was in 1979 and the Iranian people still do not have a democratically elected government.

Sir Arnold McNair was also legal advisor to Emperor Haile Selassie while he was exiled to the UK from the Italian invasion of 1937 till the end of the Second World War. Sir Arnold was made a British Lord in 1956.

Duncan’s father, Lord John McNair, inherited the title in 1977. While a member of the House of Lords, he supported the Bahai people in Iran after the Islamic Revolution, successfully prevented the people living in a beautiful forest area of the UK from losing their heritage and also helped to secure independence for many of the UK’s island colonies.  

Lord John McNair, as a Liberal Party delegate to the Council of Europe, initiated a fact-finding mission to the Palestinian refugee camps in 1983. There was a funding crisis for UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Lord McNair and a fellow Council of Europe delegate travelled to Palestine and wrote a report. Following the publication of the report by the Council of Europe, the funding crisis was resolved and international funding for the camps was restarted.

Duncan inherited his title from his father in 1990. He supported humanitarian and human rights efforts, and also spoke up for the environment and international development. Duncan was a member of the House of Lords till 1999 when the system for the House of Lords was changed. Since then, he has worked in public affairs and supported humanitarian programs. In 2014, he was asked to speak to an Iranian group in London about his grandfather’s role in the Iranian oil crisis of 1952. Sir Arnold McNair, as he was then, is still warmly remembered by Iranians for standing up for their rights. Peaceful Planet Human Rights Education was born from that presentation.

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