Human rights are the rights that belong to everyone without exception—to people of any color, creed, age, ethnicity or gender. But as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon pointed out in his Human Rights Day message this year, “…unless we know them, unless we demand they be respected, and unless we defend our rights — and the right of others — to exercise them, they will be just words in a decades-old document.”
To make the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights known to all, the Church of Scientology has undertaken a massive human rights education initiative, reaching more than 180 million people in 2011 with the information on human rights in 17 languages.
The United Nations estimates that 2.45 million people are trafficked each year, nearly a billion live in hunger, and almost half the world’s population subsists on less than $2.50 a day, making it clear any momentum generated this year must continue and that education and insistence on human rights has never been more vital.
In a global demonstration of support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its 30 rights, Scientology Churches and Missions marked Human Rights Day with seminars, rallies, concerts, round tables, forums and festivals, and helped organize more than 80 human rights walks in 26 countries to raise awareness of the Declaration and the need for its full implementation.
In 1969, L. Ron Hubbard wrote, “The United Nations came up with the answer. An absence of human rights stained the hands of governments and threatened their rules. Very few governments have implemented any part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These governments have not grasped that their very survival depends utterly upon adopting such reforms and thus giving their peoples a cause, a civilization worth supporting, worth their patriotism.”
For more than four decades, the Church has worked to make the Universal Declaration of Human Rights broadly known. The Declaration appeared in the first edition of Freedom Magazine, the Church’s human rights journal, in 1968. In 1998, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Declaration, the Church carried out the first of five annual cross-European marathons, reaching an estimated 33 million with its message in support of human rights.
Ten years ago, the Church began publishing materials that present the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in terms anyone can understand. These booklets, award-winning public service announcements and human rights documentary videos are available free of charge to any individual or group.
“There are many examples in history of what individuals can accomplish by demanding their rights and insisting on the rights of others,” says Rev. Robert Adams, Vice President of the Church of Scientology International. “But a knowledge of these rights comes first. The United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, yet in many ways, despite advances, the violations of its articles are as abhorrent today as they were six decades ago. We work with many dedicated groups, organizations, agencies and government bodies to make human rights a reality. To achieve this goal, education in human rights must be mandatory, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be given the force of law.”
Since Human Rights Day 2010, through direct action and sponsorship of activities and materials, the Church of Scientology has reached hundreds of millions of people with humans rights information, distributing more than 2 million publications and providing educational materials to more than 45,000 human rights organizations and 4,500 educators and educational institutions.
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in the United States in 1954 and has grown to more than 9,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups and millions of members in 165 countries.