10th Annual International Human Rights Summit Promotes Peace through Education
Human Rights Office of the Church of Scientology International and Churches of Scientology for Europe cosponsor program to bring together youth from 30 nations in the name of human rights.
Forty Youth Delegates filed into Brussels’ International Auditorium with flags held high September 6 for the opening ceremonies of the 10th annual Human Rights Summit of Youth for Human Rights International.
The Church of Scientology International helped organize the Summit along with Brussels-based Churches of Scientology for Europe, which was also hosted the Inter-Religious Conference for Peace Sunday September 8, the final day of the program.
Taiwan President Ying-Jiou Ma set the tone of the Summit with a message presented by Youth for Human Rights Taiwan representative Simone Hsu: “It is my earnest hope that this significant event will enable us to advance the development of human rights worldwide, promote education on the rule of law among the younger generation, and strengthen mechanisms for human rights protection. By so doing we can together contribute to the respect for human dignity and values.”
The Summit brought together young men and women of 30 nationalities selected from hundreds of applicants for their accomplishments in the field of human rights.
They came from Albania, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Congo, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States and the Vietnamese community of Europe.
Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, President of Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI), welcomed the Youth Delegates and honored guests including UN officials, representatives of embassies to the European Union, human rights and religious leaders, NGOs and local community activists.
Dr. Bertrand G. Ramcharan, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, spoke of the importance of human rights education: “Our world is one beset by numerous problems and challenges, and only by pursuing human rights strategies of governance nationally, regionally, and internationally can we hope to tackle these problems successfully. By teaching every child, every person, about human rights, we can hope that they, in turn, would urge upon their governments to pursue such human right strategies. Human survival and global justice depend on this.”
Youth delegates networked with one another and met with and benefited from the knowledge and experience of leaders in the international human rights community. They shared PowerPoint presentations, essays, photography and art to illustrate their work to promote human rights awareness in their countries.
Other speakers included Ireneo Omositson Namboka, former United Nations human rights education and protection advisor and Ugandan diplomat (1974-1987); Altangerel Choijoo, National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia; Kwamu Nana, National Commission of Human Rights and Freedom of Cameroon; Robert Mesey of the International Organization for Peace Missions Switzerland; Julie Ngbo-Ngbo Ndawelle, president of La Voix des Faibles NGO; Anette Ntignoi, president of Grains de Sable NGO; Yeka Futy, president of the ASSECA NGO of the Democratic Republic of Congo; Production Director Youth for Human Right Nepal Guna Raj Pyakurel and Susan Monaghan of Youth for Human Rights International.
Claus Jensen, professor of public law and former chairman of the board of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, chaired a plenary session on “How we can empower future leaders through human rights education.” Panelists were the president of Youth for Human Rights Mexico Raul Arias Perez, and Russia, Ruslan Khusainov; Sri Lanka human rights activist M.C.M. Iqbal; and Secretary General of the European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion, Bashy Quraishy of Denmark.
Human Rights Hero Awards were presented to four teams for their outstanding contributions to human rights education in their respective countries: Nicole Crellin accepted the award on behalf of Youth for Human Rights Canada, Camilo Guzmán for Youth for Human Rights Costa Rica, Youth Ambassador Nina Fay Christensen and Youth Delegate Layal Sarhan for Youth for Human Rights Denmark, and Andrew Chalmers and Youth Delegate Samarendra Patra for Youth for Human Rights India.
September 7 was a day-long human rights education workshop. Delegates met with and benefited from the knowledge and experience of leaders in the international human rights community and briefed one another on their activities to promote human rights awareness.
September 8, the final day of the Summit, was the Inter-Religious Conference for Peace at the Churches of Scientology for Europe in Brussels. Speakers representing many faiths and beliefs spoke of the tenets of their religions and their commitment to bridging religious and cultural differences to create a world in which human rights are a fact and peace is the legacy of generations to come.
The purpose of Youth for Human Rights International is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace.
The Church of Scientology International has worked closely with Youth for Human Rights International since its inception in 2001 and has cosponsored and helped organize each of the annual Human Rights Summits.
Scientologists on five continents engage in collaborative efforts with government agencies and nongovernmental organizations to bring about broad-scale awareness and implementation of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world’s premier human rights document.
The Church of Scientology has published a brochure, Scientology: How We Help—United for Human Rights, Making Human Rights a Global Reality, to meet requests for more information about the human rights education and awareness initiative the Church supports. To learn more, visit Scientology.org/HumanRights.
Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote, “Human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream,” and the Scientology religion is based on the principles of human rights. The Code of a Scientologist calls on all members of the religion to dedicate themselves “to support true humanitarian endeavors in the fields of human rights.”