*Dawn over the Sahara; I took the photo in 1997 from the cockpit of a Sudan Airways jet over the Sahara north of Khartoum, shortly before dawn. The sun is below the horizon but, at 35,000 feet, it blazes in dazzling colours on the underside of the clouds. The desert below would still have been in darkness.
Lord Duncan McNair - political background

In 1990, Duncan inherited the right to sit as a member of the House of Lords from his father, John McNair. The first Lord McNair was his grandfather, Arnold McNair, who was the British Judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, Holland from 1946 to 1955 and, from 1952, its President.

In the 1952 case about the nationalisation of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, Arnold McNair submitted an individual opinion which demonstrated his understanding of Iran's struggle to free herself from unequal treaties imposed by the western powers, known as a 'capitulatory regime'. This made him, according to the former private secretary of the Iranian Prime Minster at the time, Mohammad Mosadegh, a national hero in Iran.

Arnold McNair went on to be Founding President of the European Court of Human Rights. For many years he had been championing the case for a court to uphold the European Convention on Human Rights and when it opened in 1959 he became its first President.

The present Lord McNair's father, John, took his seat in 1977. While in the Lords, John McNair was the Liberal Party's front bencher who worked on one of the final stages of the decolonisation process when many groups of small islands attained their independence.

As a Liberal Party delegate from the House of Lords to the Council of Europe, an older and more widely representative body than the present EU Commission and Parliament, he took responsibility for investigating an impending crisis over continuing funding for the Palestinian refugee camps and for being the group's rapporteur. This initiative resulted in the resumption of funding through UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency which had been set up in the late 1940s for this purpose. After the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, John McNair spoke out in the House of Lords against the persecution of the members of the Bahai Faith in Iran.

Duncan McNair, the third holder of the Lord McNair title, took his seat in the House of Lords in 1990. His three main areas of political focus became natural health, education and human rights and states' rights. He was able to view at first hand the modern version of the capitulatory regime in international relations from 1994 regarding the international community's treatment of Sudan and other countries. He continues to work on human rights education as he believes the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be the foundation of real democracy, peace and justice.
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Duncan McNair © 2014*