In cities around the world today, Scientologists organize or participate in round tables, petition drives, seminars and marches in support of the United Nations International Day against Racial Discrimination.
The UN General Assembly selected March 21 to commemorate the day in 1960 in Sharpeville, South Africa, when police opened fire on thousands peacefully demonstrating against apartheid, killing 69.
The first article of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Yet 64 years after the document’s 1948 adoption, headlines still feature racially and ethnically motivated violence.
As announced today, a grand jury in Florida will look into racism as the cause of the February 26 shooting death of 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin. Four died Monday when a gunman opened fire on parents and children at an Orthodox Jewish school in Toulouse, France. Two Senegalese vendors were shot to death in Florence three months ago by an author known for his far-right extremism.
In his message today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “Racism and racial discrimination have been used as weapons to engender fear and hatred. In extreme cases, ruthless leaders instigate prejudice to incite genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said, “Leaving the dangerous societal problems of prejudice and racism to simmer on the back burner creates a real risk of explosive conflicts erupting, years or decades later.”
The human rights initiative of the Church of Scientology promotes education as the key to remedying these and other human rights abuse. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights begins with the injunction to “strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.”
Since its inception, the Church of Scientology championed human rights. The Creed of the Church, written in 1954 by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, begins with the statement that Man is an immortal spiritual being and that all people of any race, color or creed are created with equal and inalienable rights.
“It is vital that all thinking men urge upon their governments (for the governments’ own sake if no other) sweeping reforms in the field of human rights,” stated Mr. Hubbard in 1969. To that end, today the Church sponsors one of the world’s largest nongovernmental human rights information campaigns, aimed at raising awareness and calling for governments to meaningfully support and ensure human rights.
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 10,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups and millions of members in 167 nations.