Scientology And Me

February 21, 2009

Church of Scientology: Human Rights Celebrated in South Africa

Marking the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Church of Scientology of South Africa teamed up with the national chapter of Youth for Human Rights International to raise awareness of human rights and secure commitments from community leaders to make 2009 a better human rights year for all South Africans.

Youth for Human Rights (YHR) gave a presentation to teachers representing 14 schools in the Durban township of Kwa Mashu, one of the oldest black urban settlements in the region, with a population of 1.5 million and an estimated 80% unemployment rate among youth.

Prior to the presentation the teachers were asked what are the greatest problems they face in their classrooms. The answers were peer pressure, bullying, violence and crime, with the underlying problem of lack of self-esteem and opportunity for many otherwise bright students.

The teachers’ response was very positive after viewing YHR’s (Youth for Human Rights) powerful audio-visual Public Service Announcements that bring to life all 30 rights of the Universal Declaration. Accompanying illustrated booklets of these rights were distributed to the teachers and YHR’s volunteer team was invited back to give presentations to all teachers of the 24 schools in the township. The teachers further committed to work with YHR and see that human rights education is delivered to all their students throughout 2009.

In Johannesburg a forum was held at the Civic Center attended by 50 youth representing the various regions of the city. The President of the Church of Scientology of Johannesburg opened the event, followed by a speaker from the Department of Youth & Development, an agency of the city’s Social Services, who spoke about the importance of human rights education and the need for youth to take on activist roles to raise awareness of human rights. The second speaker was the head of the Soweto chapter of YHR. He outlined the activities of YHR throughout the year and the plans for 2009, pointing out that widespread teaching of human rights can combat rampant rights violations depressing every sector of the society.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted and proclaimed on December 10, 1948, by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all member countries to publicize the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”

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