For Immediate Release

Church of Scientology International Co-Sponsors 8th Annual Human Rights Youth Summit

The Human Rights Office of the Church of Scientology International sponsors human rights summits where youth from around the world network, learn skills and formulate plans to advance the full implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their countries.


Geneva—The Human Rights Office of the Church of Scientology International was proud co-sponsor of the 8th Annual International Human Rights Summit August 26-28, 2011 in Geneva, home of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Human Rights Council. United Nations representatives, human rights NGOs non-government organization and leaders of civil society joined youth delegates from 30 countries to encourage the youth in the purpose of the conference: to create leaders through human rights education.

The United Nations estimates human trafficking generates $7 billion dollars annually, and with 700,000 to 4 million women and children forced into prostitution and other forms of exploitation each year the need for human rights education has never been more urgent.

Some 250 attendees packed the Hotel President Wilson event hall to capacity August 26—the very room where Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) was launched 10 years ago. 

The youth delegates set the tone of the event with a procession featuring the 30 flags of the countries they represented. The 30 delegates were selected from nearly 1,000 applicants who submitted human rights essays and evidence of their work to promote human rights education throughout the past year.

Master of ceremonies Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, Founder and President of Youth for Human Rights International and recipient of the International Association of Scientologists Freedom Medal in 2007, welcomed the youth and honored guests.

Speakers included a former U.N. Assistant Secretary General, several representatives of permanent missions to the U.N., NGO consultants to the United Nations, and youth delegates from Belgium, Central African Republic, Denmark, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and the Vietnamese Community in Europe.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of Human Rights Hero Awards to five humanitarians for their work to guarantee the rights of others and promote human rights education:

  • Mr. Antonio Lopez, Human Rights Undersecretary of Chiapas, Mexico accepted a Human Rights Hero Award on behalf of Juan Sabines Guerrero, Governor of the State of Chapias, for his work to incorporate the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the new state constitution.
  • Mr. Martin Ponce Rubio, Territorial Director of Jalalpa, Mexico, for nearly two decades of championing youth and for establishing educational and art programs to inform young people of their rights and combat crime and drug trafficking. 
  • Ms. Eleonora Frigerio, Vice President of the Association for Human Rights and Tolerance of Italy, for building schools in Ghana for thousands of young children who would otherwise not benefit from the right to education and for providing human rights education to the Tibetan Children in Exile in Dharamshala, India.
  • Ms. Joanne Tawfilis, Founding Executive Director of the Art Miles Mural Project, for giving children a voice in promoting peace by involving them in the painting of murals in countries throughout the world. 
  • Dustin McGahee, director of Youth for Human Rights Florida, for establishing and promoting the Annual International Walk for Human Rights to commemorate Human Rights Day on December 10. 

The 2011 Summit was also co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Haiti; Village Suisse NGO/ECOSOC; the Ariel Foundation International; and Youth for Human Rights Chapters of Geneva and Vaud, Switzerland.

The Creed of the Church of Scientology, written by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1954, begins with the statement of belief that “all men of whatever race, color or creed were created with equal rights.” For more than 50 years Scientologists have championed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today the Church of Scientology sponsors the largest non-governmental information campaign to make the Universal Declaration of Human Rights known the world over.

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