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Thousands March in Protest of Xenophobia and Violence

When violence erupted in South Africa, targeting immigrants from other African nations, nonprofits and religious groups marched in a demonstration of support for the human rights of all.

Youth for Human Rights and volunteers from the Scientology Churches in Gauteng joined dozens of organizations and peace-minded people from throughout the region to promote human rights and protest the xenophobic violence that has broken out in South Africa in recent weeks.

They rallied in response to the violence targeting foreign-owned businesses that broke out earlier this month, killing 12 and destroying hundreds of shops in and around Johannesburg.

The march began at Pieter Roos Park in Hillbrow, a hub of Nigerian immigrants where violence erupted earlier this month, moved through the Johannesburg neighborhood known as Little Ethiopia and ended in Newtown.

“There can be no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who described recent xenophobic attacks as totally unacceptable. “We are against xenophobia. These attacks are completely against the rule of law.”

The event began with a concert staged by local musicians. Then more than 2,000 walked in a peaceful two-hour march.

Volunteers handed out some 1,600 copies of the What Are Human Rights? booklet to local residents. The booklet makes it simple for anyone to understand the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Among the UDHR articles violated by recent violence are:

Article 2. Don’t Discriminate

Article 3. The Right to Life

Article 6. You Have Rights No Matter Where You Go

Article 8. Your Human Rights Are Protected by Law

Article 14. The Right to Seek a Safe Place to Live

Article 30. No One Can Take Away Your Human Rights

As the march progressed, many local residents joined in, grabbing boxes of booklets and handing them out to others in the neighborhood.

“We believe in education,” said a representative of Youth for Human Rights. “When youth understand their rights and their responsibility for the rights of others, they become advocates for peace. Through education, we can create tremendous social change.”

The Church of Scientology and Scientologists support Youth for Human Rights and make its educational materials available free of charge. For more information visit the Scientology website or

Watch 30 Rights Brought to Life on the Scientology Network.

The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.

Church of Scientology Media Relations
(323) 960-3500 phone
(323) 960-3508 fax