Where do human rights begin? In small places, close to home, so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. — Eleanor Roosevelt, first chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
True to the creed of the Church of Scientology, which begins with the belief “That all men of whatever race, color or creed were created with equal rights,” the Church supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and sponsors programs to raise awareness of these rights: United for Human Rights and its program for young people Youth for Human Rights. 2023 was the 75th anniversary of the UDHR and Scientology-sponsored initiatives brought understanding of these rights to “small places, close to home,” in cities, towns and villages, across every time zone, into classrooms and onto the streets in marches and petition drives. And all in furthering the intention of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that “human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream.”
Eleanor Roosevelt pointed out the limitations of the UDHR: It is not legally binding on states, but simply stands “as a standard of conduct for all.” A standard is only as good as it is understood and applied. And surveys show few people can name more than a few of the rights enshrined in the document.
Scientology Churches host conferences and open house events throughout the year marking UN Days that promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including International Mandela Day, International Day of Peace, Religious Freedom Day and International Human Rights Day. Scientology Churches also sponsor chapters of United for Human Rights and Youth for Human Rights and provide human rights seminars and training to anyone wishing to use these initiatives to raise awareness of the 30 inalienable rights enshrined in the UDHR.
United for Human Rights audiovisual materials make it easy to convey these rights to anyone no matter their level of literacy. They present the 30 articles of the UDHR in ways that resonate with youth of every culture and creed. The Church of Scientology makes these materials available free of charge to anyone wishing to use them to raise awareness of human rights.
Over the past four years, these programs have brought human rights to life for some 41 million individuals. From the Congo to Cote D’Ivoire, Benin to Bangladesh and Mexico to Mauritius, human rights advocates form groups using these initiatives and hold marches, petition drives and human rights seminars to educate and activate their communities.
In honor of the year-long celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this year’s Human Rights Youth Summit of Youth for Human Rights International at United Nations Headquarters in New York was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Timor-Leste to the United Nations and cosponsored by the Permanent Missions of Ireland, Albania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Timor-Leste President and Nobel Peace Laureate for 1996 José Ramos-Horta welcomed the youth delegates in a recorded presentation. “The hope that is represented by UDHR never dies,” he said. “It is always carried forward by the young… With your actions today you are making the world you will live in a better place. The UDHR maps the road to a better world. Thank you for continuing to carry that torch and build a road to the ideals we share.”
The event was broadcast on the UN website and viewed by human rights activists, educators and members of Youth for Human Rights chapters in countries across the globe.
On December 6 and 7, on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the UDHR, the UN Office of Human Rights in Geneva hosted a conference organized by the Association of Human Rights and Tolerance, an NGO with consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The Association is a human rights initiative affiliated with Youth for Human Rights and supported by the Church of Scientology of Milano.
Also participating was the director of the Church of Scientology European Office of Public Affairs and Human Rights. Held in the Palace of Nations, home of the United Nations Office at Geneva, the conference title was Human Rights: Know, Respect, Protect. It focused on religious freedom, enshrined in Article 18 of the document. Neglect, denial or violation of religious freedom is often referred to as “the canary in the coalmine”—meaning that it tends to predict the appearance and proliferation of other forms of hatred and human rights violations.
The conference featured religious scholars who spoke of a project they support called the “Atlas of Religious or Belief Minority Rights in Europe.” This project promotes education in all its forms as essential to ensuring human dignity by helping people understand and demand their rights and the rights of others.
The Scientology Network features the work of humanitarians of all faiths and creeds in episodes of the original series Voices for Humanity. It is available on DIRECTV Channel 320, DIRECTV STREAM, AT&T U-verse and streams at Scientology.tv, on mobile apps, and via the Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV platforms. The fall 2023 season featured human rights activists:
Zakaria El Hamel is leading a movement in his native Morocco to bring human rights awareness throughout the country as it emerges from decades of oppressive government rule.
Glory Matipile rescues victims of human trafficking and educates South African youth to help prevent them falling prey to the tricks and tactics human and drug traffickers use to lure unsuspecting victims.
Rahul KC raises awareness of human rights in schools and helped bring about the rewriting of Nepal’s constitution to guarantee human rights for all.
Clement Manfouo is bringing the message of Youth for Human Rights to some of the poorest areas of South Africa.
For assistance in forming a new chapter of United for Human Rights, to schedule training in the use of its human rights curriculum or to satisfy your curiosity about the world’s youngest major religion, visit your nearest Scientology Church of Scientology.
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. Mr. David Miscavige is the religion’s ecclesiastical leader.