Petition Targets Human Rights Education

Churches of Scientology in 14 countries joined forces with Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) last week conducting a global petition drive in support of human rights education. Based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the petition calls on governments to make human rights education mandatory and to conduct human rights education campaigns. The Declaration was ratified by the UN General Assembly in 1948 and defines the fundamental freedoms and human rights in the United Nations Charter. Since that time it has influenced national constitutions, treaties, laws, and human rights institutions the world over.

“The Universal Declaration does more than condemn discrimination, slavery and torture,” said Rev. Bob Adams, spokesperson for the Church of Scientology International. “Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the full scope of these rights and so have no way of knowing when these rights are violated. It’s not something only for governments to care for—we all have an interest in these rights.”

Scientologists, their families and friends took to busy street corners, festivals and shopping centers and city squares, where they presented booklets and videos, engaged in human rights discussions and gained support for the cause on giant petition boards. Active on many fronts of human rights initiatives and reform for five decades, the Church sponsors a worldwide human rights initiative to raise awareness and respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This includes distribution of millions of booklets and the airing of 30 public service messages, both based on the Declaration’s articles. In 2009, the Church sponsored the production of a new educational film, The Story of Human Rights, a 20-minute entertaining and historical account of the development of human rights, and a new human rights educators kit. To date, these materials have reached over 500 million people in 180 countries.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the inherent dignity and rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace,” said Rev. Adams. “The world needs a lot more people knowing it and supporting it.”