Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Scientology Churches Spearhead Human Rights through Education

Scientology Churches on six continents called attention to human rights issues on Human Rights Day, with dozens of events including rallies, human rights walks, round tables, concerts and petition drives. To raise awareness of human rights and bring about much needed reforms, Scientologists are calling for human rights education in all schools as the first prerequisite to guarantee human rights internationally.

Human Rights Day is the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the UN General Assembly in 1948. The document was drafted by a committee of scholars and humanitarians chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt to prevent a repeat of the atrocities of World War II. The Preamble to the Declaration proclaimed the UDHR “as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations,” and stated that “every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms.”

Now 61 years later, human rights education is not part of most schools’ curriculums, and human rights violations rival those of the past. According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, there are an estimated 27 million enslaved today. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro reported that an estimated 2 million or more women are trafficked across borders every year.

“Education is vital to guarantee human rights,” said Tracie Morrow, Youth Coordinator for the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International. “L. Ron Hubbard said, ‘human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream,’ and ensuring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is broadly understood is a vital first step.”

To raise awareness of the UDHR, Scientology volunteers in Munich, Germany helped produce an event featuring educational video presentations on the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration, accompanied by musical performances, and speeches by young activists on the impact of human rights violations on their own and others’ lives. In Sweden, Scientologists set up a booth on a walking street in the seaport city of Malmö where they collected hundreds of signatures on their petition calling for human rights education. In Florida, Scientologists participated in a walk for human rights and a human rights poetry workshop.

In Russia, the Church of Scientology in partnership with Youth for Human Rights and the Moscow chapter of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights held a Human Rights Day celebration at the Central House of Journalists in Moscow. More than a hundred human rights advocates, including representatives of a wide variety of religious groups, the country’s Human Rights Committee, the Moscow Police Department and a former ombudsman of the Russian Federation participated and coordinated their activities for the coming year.

Dozens of other events and petition drives were held across the United States and in Canada, Europe, India, Japan, South Africa and Kenya.

For more information on the human rights initiative of the Church of Scientology, visit the Scientology site at www.scientology.org.

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