On United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Scientologists call for mandatory human rights education to promote peace and tolerance

Volunteers from Churches of Scientology in 21 countries including the United States, Canada, France, Denmark, Russia, Australia and South Africa gathered signatures on human rights petitions on March 21, commemorating United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Discrimination.  The petition drives galvanized support for human rights education, promoting the values embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which emphasizes “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

The Declaration was ratified by the UN General Assembly more than 60 years ago, yet racial and ethnic conflicts fuel wars throughout the world.  Scientologists say the answer is in human rights education.

The United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed each year on the anniversary of the day in 1960 when police opened fire in Sharpeville, South Africa, on a crowd of unarmed Black South Africans, killing 69 civilians who were protesting the repressive apartheid regime.

In a speech  50 years after the Sharpeville tragedy, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “The United Nations marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on this solemn anniversary to reaffirm our commitment to guard against a repeat of the horrors rooted in racism—from slavery to the Holocaust, from apartheid to ethnic cleansing and genocide.”

In addition to grassroots activities such as petition drives, Churches of Scientology partner with Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) to carry out a human rights awareness campaign to educate people of all ages on human rights.

“Most people don’t know the rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said Tracie Morrow, Youth Coordinator for the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology International Human Rights Office. “Without an understanding of these rights,  people will not demand their own rights, let alone respect and defend the rights of others. Through human rights education we have found young people become much more tolerant and understanding, and many are inspired to become human rights advocates,” said Morrow.

The Church of Scientology has championed human rights for more than 50 years and sponsors the largest non-governmental information campaign to make the Universal Declaration of Human Rights known the world over. The Church’s human rights initiative sponsors groups and activities and has provided its materials to individuals, groups and government agencies in 185 nations.