“On this Day, we reaffirm our unwavering support for the victims of violence based on religion and belief” Antonio Guterres, UN Sec. Gral.

Human Rights Related to Freedom of Religion or Belief

Freedom of religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of association are interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing. They are enshrined in articles 18, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Upholding these rights plays an important role in the fight against all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief.

The open, constructive and respectful debate of ideas, as well as interreligious, interfaith and intercultural dialogue, at the local, national, regional and international levels, can play a positive role in combating religious hatred, incitement and violence.

Furthermore, the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and full respect for the freedom to seek, receive and impart information can play a positive role in strengthening democracy and combating religious intolerance.

Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief

There are continuing acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief against individuals, including against persons belonging to religious communities and religious minorities around the world, and the number and intensity of such incidents, which are often of a criminal nature and may have international characteristics, are increasing.

That is why the General Assembly adopted the resolution A/RES/73/296, titled “International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief” strongly condemning continuing violence and acts of terrorism targeting individuals, including persons belonging to religious minorities, on the basis of or in the name of religion or belief.

The Member States reaffirmed their unequivocal condemnation of all acts, methods and practices of terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomsoever committed, regardless of their motivation, and reiterated that terrorism and violent extremism as and when conducive to terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.

The General Assembly decided to designate 22 August as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.

The Day comes right after the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, 21 August.

Why Do We Mark International Days?

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. More information available here.

Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union, on the occasion of the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief

Source: Council of the European Union

On this first International Day commemorating the victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief, we pay tribute to all those around the world who lost their lives and suffered attacks because of their religion or belief. Persecution as a response to religious belief or affiliation, or lack thereof, is a violation of international law and requires joint work to combat it.

There were many tragic extremist attacks during the last year. Believers from any faith, as well as non-believers in many parts of the world continue to suffer from violence and persecution. They face incitement to hatred and violence and hate crimes by state or non-state actors or both.

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion are enshrined in Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental rights of the European Union and protecting this right is a duty for the EU and its Member States. EU legislation obliges Member States to penalise the intentional public incitement to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to, among others, religion or belief.

The EU has always been at the frontline in promoting and protecting freedom of religion or belief. The guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief approved in 2013, reaffirm that state institutions have a duty to guarantee freedom of religion or  belief, and to protect individuals from violence based on the actual or assumed religion or belief of the targeted persons, or based on the religious or convictional tenets of the perpetrators. Violence perpetrated under the pretext of a religious prescription or practice, such as violence against women and girls including “honour” killings, female genital mutilation, child early and forced marriages as well as violence perpetrated  against persons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is also unacceptable. 

Majorities in one country are minorities elsewhere. Marginalisation and scapegoating of persons belonging to religious minorities can be an early warning sign of more severe persecution, as well as a wider crackdown on the whole society. Preventive measures are needed to combat religious hatred, incitement and violence related to religious persecution. The EU has and will continue to increase its support for such measures promoting freedom of religion or belief.

Perpetrators need to be held accountable, violence prevented and victims rehabilitated. Tangible progress can be made through multilateralism and collective action. This is why the EU leads a Resolution on freedom of religion or belief at the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly every year. If a society allows for the persecution of one minority, it lays the ground for persecution of any community. An attack on one minority is an attack on all of us. This is why we keep committed to acting all together.

The UN recognizes and gives Special Consultative Status to the Foundation created by Scientology in Spain

The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations grants special Consultative Status to the Foundation for the Improvement of Life, Culture and Society[i].

The Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the Improvement of Life, Culture and Society [Foundation MEJORA], has just received a letter from the United Nations NGO Branch. The message informs them that the UN ECOSOC -at its Coordination and Management Meeting of July 23 of this year- has decided to grant the Foundation the recognition of ‘Organization with Special Consultative Status for ECOSOC’.

With this recognition, the Foundation will now have official representatives at the UN in Geneva, Vienna and New York. According to the United Nations website:

The consultative status is granted by ECOSOC and gives NGOs access to both ECOSOC and its many subsidiary bodies, the various United Nations human rights mechanisms,… and special events organized by the President of the General Assembly[ii]

https://research.un.org/es/ngo
Offical letter

being able to present written and oral statements to different organs such as the UN Human Rights Council, and even organize conferences of their own within the United Nations.

The UN approves the application for the Special status

The Foundation MEJORA was founded in 2015 by the Church of Scientology of Spain. It registered into the National Registry of Foundations under the Protectorate of the then Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. As stated in its original request to the United Nations, the Foundation said that based on its:

“vision of a human development through respect for and observation of the Universal Human Rights as well as the application of core values such as human rights, equality, tolerance, respect for human life, peace, democracy and individual freedom” established its mission to “defend, promote, teach and disseminate the Human Rights as included in the Spanish Constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants, to promote pragmatic Scientology values and practices [note: developed by L. Ron Hubbard] aiming at the improvement of individual and social life, and to promote tolerance in all aspects of societal cohabitation…”.

In this application that has just been approved by the Economic and Social Council, the Foundation has documented and stated that:

“MEJORA’s work is done without any discrimination as to gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity and contributes actively to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially regarding the SDG 3, 5, 11 and 16.”.

Fundación para la Mejora de la Vida, la Cultura y la Sociedad
Ivan Arjona-Pelado at the European Parliament. 2019

It acts not only in Spain but at European and international level.

Iván Arjona-Pelado, President of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation and for more than two years of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights, has stated that:

“The Foundation for the IMPROVEMENT of Life, carries out in Spain the campaigns of ‘Youth for Human Rights’, ‘The Truth About Drugs’, ‘The Way to Happiness’ among others, and began working mainly at the national level in collaboration with other civil society organizations, the private sector, as well as public institutions. However, since three years we decided to expand its activity at European and international level, starting operations in countries such as Colombia, Belgium, Mexico, Switzerland, the United States, and many others”.

In the United Nations, they have already co-organized a multitude of conferences at UN facilities in Geneva, Vienna and even New York. These were addressing human trafficking, human rights education, religious freedom and drug prevention.

At the European level, they are registered in the Transparency Register of the European Union. MEJORA has actively participated in the Faith and Freedom Summit NGO coalition that held its last event at the European Parliament in Brussels. The Foundation for the Improvement of Life also participates in numerous initiatives, events and conferences. On the coming 6th September, it will organize the 6th Edition of the Religious Freedom Awards that among its awardees count multiple scholars and officials of recognized prestige in the field of Freedom of Religion or Belief.

For more information:

Email: fundacion[a]mejorandolasociedad.org — Web: www.mejorandolasociedad.org

La Oficina de Asuntos Públicos y Derechos Humanos de Scientology obtiene reconocimiento religioso en Europa

El pasado 28 de junio de 2019, el Ministerio de Justicia de España otorgó el estatus de entidad religiosa a la “Oficina Europea de la Iglesia de Scientology para Asuntos Públicos y Derechos Humanos[1].

La entidad europea establecida en Madrid, España, y dirigida por un español, opera en diversas localidades en toda Europa y más allá. Esto incluye una segunda oficina principal en Bruselas y actividades en Berlín, Copenhague, Estrasburgo, Ginebra, Londres, París, Roma, Varsovia, Viena, entre otras capitales. Representa a los Scientologists de al menos 37 estados miembros del Consejo de Europa, [más de un 78% de los estados miembro].

Los primeros esfuerzos de la Iglesia de Scientology para dialogar con las instituciones internacionales e intergubernamentales y contribuir a construir los valores europeos comenzaron con una Oficina Europea de la Iglesia en Bruselas y se ha ocupado de asuntos públicos y derechos humanos en toda Europa desde entonces, cuando se estableció en 1990.

De acuerdo al comunicado, desde sus inicios los diferentes equipos y esfuerzos de la Iglesia de Scientology se han guiado no solo por los valores consagrados en el Convenio Europeo de Derechos Humanos, sino también por los promovidos y protegidos por la Carta de los Derechos Fundamentales de la Unión Europea.

Ivan Arjona en el Parlamento Europeo

Iván Arjona, presidente de esta nueva entidad ha declarado que “Europa ha estado evolucionando hacia un movimiento más democrático y justo donde los derechos fundamentales son cada vez más importantes para todos los ciudadanos, contribuyendo a una cooperación más fuerte y positiva entre las naciones de Europa”.

En vista del artículo 17[1] del Tratado de Funcionamiento de la Unión Europea[2], la Unión “respetará y no prejuzgará el estatuto reconocido en los Estados miembros, en virtud del Derecho interno, a las iglesias y las asociaciones o comunidades religiosas” y “reconociendo su identidad y su contribución específica” la UE “mantendrá un diálogo abierto, transparente y regular con dichas iglesias y organizaciones”.

Entre los esfuerzos realizados por la Iglesia de Scientology para contribuir adecuadamente a este diálogo, según el comunicado de la Iglesia de Scientology, un equipo y una oficina renovados ingresaron en dicha esfera al inscribirse en el Registro de Transparencia de la Unión Europea el 18 de julio de 2017, con el número 872253227782-36[3] en la sección de “Organizaciones representativas de iglesias y comunidades religiosas”.

Desde entonces, dicha Oficina ha participado en los diferentes debates sobre temas relevantes, especialmente en el Parlamento Europeo, habiendo logrado la primera acreditación oficial personal para un representante de la Iglesia de Scientology en octubre de 2018.

El último paso dado por Scientology para lograr un diálogo más fructífero, transparente y apropiado con las diferentes instituciones europeas, cumpliendo así con los requisitos formales que se encuentran en las Directrices de 2013 para la implementación del Artículo 17 del TFUE, ha sido la reciente inscripción como persona jurídica de la mencionada “Oficina Europea de la Iglesia de Scientology para Asuntos Públicos”.

La entidad, reconocida ahora como entidad religiosa por el Ministerio de Justicia de España, menciona expresamente en el artículo 2 de sus estatutos, unirse: “…a los valores europeos de Dignidad Humana, Libertad, Democracia, Igualdad / Equidad, Estado de Derecho y Derechos Humanos”.

Los estatutos aprobados establecen su alcance territorial como “nacional y europeo”, actuando como una entidad de referencia para todo el territorio europeo” y operando como una organización sin fines de lucro puramente religiosa, que será responsable de llevar a cabo sus propias actividades y actuar como representante de las diversas Iglesias en Europa ante instituciones públicas y privadas nacionales y supranacionales, fomentando lo que se establece en el artículo 17 del Tratado de Funcionamiento de la Unión Europea y de conformidad con el artículo 2.2 de la Ley Orgánica [española] sobre la libertad religiosa[4].

De acuerdo con sus estatutos, explica el comunicado, el crecimiento espiritual en Scientology se alcanza de dos maneras: a) ayudando a los individuos con sus problemas espirituales y b) aumentando su conciencia espiritual y sus capacidades individuales para ayudarse a sí mismos y a otros a alcanzar las libertades y la dignidad.

Y así esta recién inscrita entidad religiosa, representa diversas entidades religiosas e iglesias nacionales cuyo propósito es practicar, enseñar y dar a conocer la religión de Scientology establecida a través de las obras religiosas de su fundador L. Ronald Hubbard “en beneficio de todos los miembros de la Sociedad”. La Oficina declara que trabaja en involucrarse y en promover un abanico de actividades de mejora social y derechos humanos, entre los cuales están la promoción, educación y campañas de sensibilización en temas de derechos fundamentales; prevención y rehabilitación de drogas, así como la promoción de estándares morales y éticos en la Sociedad. De esta manera, según Arjona, desea “apoyar y ayudar a preservar o restaurar los valores históricos y culturales que tanto benefician a la humanidad”. La creciente comunidad de Iglesias, Misiones, Grupos y entidades de mejoramiento social de Scientology ahora supera los 11.000 distintas organizaciones en más de 170 países.


[1]           Article 17 TFEU – 1. The Union respects and does not prejudice the status under national law of churches and religious associations or communities in the Member States. 2. The Union equally respects the status under national law of philosophical and non-confessional organisations. 3. Recognising their identity and their specific contribution, the Union shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and organisations. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:12012E/TXT

[2]           The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (latest version 2007) is one of two primary Treaties of the European Union, alongside the Treaty on European Union (TEU). Originating as the Treaty of Rome, the TFEU forms the detailed basis of European Union law, by setting out the scope of the EU’s authority to legislate and the principles of law in those areas where EU law operates.

[3]           http://ec.europa.eu/transparencyregister/public/consultation/displaylobbyist.do?id=872253227782-36

[4]           O.L. 7/1980 5 July on Religious Freedom. Article 2.2 The rights of Churches, Faiths and religious Communities also include establishing places of worship or assembly for religious purposes, appointing and training their ministers, promulgating and disseminating their own beliefs and maintaining relations with their own organisations or other religious faiths, within the national territory or abroad. https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-1980-15955

Scientology’s Public Affairs and Human Rights Office obtains Religious Recognition in Europe

On June 28th 2019 the Spanish Ministry of Justice granted the status of Religious Organization to the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights[1].

The European corporation established in Madrid, Spain and operates in diverse locations all over Europe and beyond. This includes a main office in Brussels, with activities in Berlin, Copenhagen, Geneva, London, Paris, Strasbourg, Rome, Vienna and Warsaw amongst others. It represents Scientologists from at least 37 Member States of the Council of Europe.

The first efforts of the Church of Scientology to dialogue with European and International intergovernmental bodies and contribute to building European values, started with a European Office of the Church in Brussels and has dealt with public affairs and human rights issues throughout Europe ever since. It was established in 1990.

Since the beginning, the different teams and efforts of the Church have abided not only by the values enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights but also by the values promoted and protected by the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Ivan Arjona-Pelado at the EU Parliament

Ivan Arjona, President of this new entity has stated that “Europe has been evolving towards a more democratic and open movement where fundamental rights have become increasingly important for all citizens, contributing to a stronger and more positive cooperation between European nations”.

In view of Article 17[2] of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union[3], the Union respects and does not prejudice the status under national law of churches and religious associations or communities in the Member States and recognizes their identity and their specific contribution, and in this light the European Union shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and organisations.

Among the efforts made by the Church of Scientology to properly contribute to this dialogue, a renewed team and office entered in the field by registering with the European Union Transparency Registry last 18 July 2017, with number 872253227782-36[4] at the Registry’s section ofOrganisations representing churches and religious communities”.

The Office has since then been involved in the different debates on relevant issues especially at the European Parliament, where the first personal official accreditation for a representative of the Church of Scientology was registered in October 2018.

This latest development of the incorporation as a legal religious entity of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs will contribute to a more useful, transparent and appropriate dialogue with the different European institutions, fulfilling the formal requirements in the 2013 Guidelines for implementation of Article 17 of the TFEU.

Resolution Ministry of Justice

The above-mentioned entity, recognized as a religious organization by the Spanish Ministry of Justice, expressly mentions in the article 2 of its statutes the purpose of: “… supporting the European values of Human Dignity, Freedom, Democracy, Equality/Equity, the Rule of Law and Human Rights”.

The approved statutes establishes its territorial scope as national and European, acting as an entity of reference for the entire European territory and operating as a purely religious non-profit organisation, which shall be responsible for carrying out its own activities and act as a representative for the various Churches in Europe before national and supranational public and private institutions, fostering that which is set forth in article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and pursuant to article 2.2 of the [Spanish] Organic Law on Religious Freedom[5].

According to its statutes, spiritual growth in Scientology is reached in two ways: by helping individuals themselves with their own spiritual problems, and by increasing their spiritual awareness and individual abilities to help themselves and others to achieve freedoms and dignity.

The Office represents different national religious entities or churches whose purpose is to practice, teach and make known the Scientology religion established through the religious works of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard “for the benefit of all members of society”. The Office also works to engage in and promote a range of secular social betterment and human rights activities, amongst which are the promotion, education and campaigning on fundamental rights issues; drug prevention and reform, and the promotion of moral and ethical standards in society. In this way it wishes to support and help to preserve or restore those historical and cultural values that are of benefit to mankind. The growing community of Scientology Churches, Missions, Groups and social betterment corporations now surpasses more than 11,000 different organisations in over 170 countries.


[1]           https://maper.mjusticia.gob.es/Maper/DetalleEntidadReligiosa.action?numeroInscripcion=024742

[2]           Article 17 TFEU – 1. The Union respects and does not prejudice the status under national law of churches and religious associations or communities in the Member States. 2. The Union equally respects the status under national law of philosophical and non-confessional organisations. 3. Recognising their identity and their specific contribution, the Union shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with these churches and organisations. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:12012E/TXT

[3]           The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (latest version 2007) is one of two primary Treaties of the European Union, alongside the Treaty on European Union (TEU). Originating as the Treaty of Rome, the TFEU forms the detailed basis of European Union law, by setting out the scope of the EU’s authority to legislate and the principles of law in those areas where EU law operates.

[4]           http://ec.europa.eu/transparencyregister/public/consultation/displaylobbyist.do?id=872253227782-36

[5]                O.L. 7/1980 5 July on Religious Freedom. Article 2.2 The rights of Churches, Faiths and religious Communities also include establishing places of worship or assembly for religious purposes, appointing and training their ministers, promulgating and disseminating their own beliefs and maintaining relations with their own organisations or other religious faiths, within the national territory or abroad. https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-1980-15955

10 years of legally binding EU Fundamental Rights

While it cannot be denied that the transparency and the perspective of people working in the EU institutions are regularly broadening for the better, it is also true that ‘institutionalised action’ expected as a result of the values expressed in the EU Fundamental Rights Charter, now 10 years after becoming a legally binding instrument, is far from ideal.

This is definitely the case as regards the rights associated with freedom of religion or belief, and non-discrimination based on religious affiliation.

Read full article HERE

Opinion article about Discrimination of Scientologists by Munich authorities. Written by Prof. Georges Elia Sarfati 🗺

ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN SPECIALIZED NEWSPAPER NEWEUROPE.EU

Is Germany, in 2019, really the democratic state we believe it to be? Are freedom of conscience and expression respected by the authorities as most Europeans think? There is every reason to believe that this is not the case when we consider the poor faith trials, as well as the discrimination suffered by the followers or sympathisers of the Church of Scientology whose inspiration and value system have their source in the thought and work of the writer L. Ron Hubbard.  …

Jan Figel on FoRB: “The aim has to be to raise awareness of what is going on in Europe itself” 🗺

EU’s religious freedom envoy wants Europe to do more to protect minorities


The EU’s special envoy for religious freedom, Jan Figel, believes that Europe needs to face up to the numerous cases of discrimination that occur against religious minorities within its own borders.Speaking at a high-level conference in Brussels, Figel said the upcoming European elections in May was a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the threat to religious freedom and belief.“The credibility of the EU and Europe is at stake,” Figel said during his opening address at the Faith and Freedom Summit, a coalition of 18 NGOs which have come together to promote religious tolerance, including in Europe.
Figel said he had personal experience of a society where freedom of speech was frowned upon, saying, “I spent half my life in Czechoslovakia under Communism so know all about this issue. Even today, data shows that some 73% of the world’s population lives in countries which have high or very high restrictions or obstacles in place against religious freedom and belief. We must stop these negative trends and reverse the threat that currently exists. It is not just discrimination against minorities that is going on, but persecution and, in some cases, even genocide,” said Figel, who added, We simply cannot stand by here in Europe and be mere commentators or observers of this.”Figel outlined some positive developments that have occurred in the last five years including the creation of his own special envoy post in 2016 and the adoption of EU guidelines on religious freedom three years earlier, as well as the creation in the parliament of an intergroup for religious tolerance.

The EU Fundamental Agency on Human Rights was another “vital instrument” in the struggle against restrictions on religious freedoms.

Noting the difference between “Continental Europe” and the wider region covered by the Council of Europe, Figel said that “real problems” still exist in Europe, including in Turkey in the crackdown against the Orthodox Church and also in Russia against Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as numerous cases of anti-Semitism in various EU countries.

“We have got to face up to these problems and tackle them head-on. The aim has to be to raise awareness of what is going on in Europe itself, as well as further afield, and to seek improvements,” said Figel. We have to realise that we, in Europe, cannot preach to others what they should be doing if we are not credibly tackling these issues within our own borders”.

NEWEUROPE.EU: Scientologists mark third anniversary of Belgian court win

Scientologists mark third anniversary of Belgian court win


On March 11, 2016, the criminal court of Brussels threw out a case that involved a dozen Scientologists, the Belgian Church, itself, and the European office of the Church of Scientology International that could have seen Church of Scientology banned as a “criminal enterprise” after a judge said the defendants were targeted because of their religion.At the time, the judge criticised the investigators who were involved in an 18-year inquiry into Scientology in Belgium, saying the law enforcement officials and Belgian intelligence officers that carried out the investigation acted out of prejudice and the case brought against the Scientologists was based on vague accusations that were obviously based on targeting the religion.

“The prosecutor constructed his charges based on his own interpretation of Scientology scriptures, contravening just about every internationally recognised human rights standard that protects the right to religious freedom”. READ FULL ARTICLE CLICKING HERE

 

 

 

The Church of Scientology celebrates 65th anniversary, growing bigger than ever

This week millions of people in over 167 countries celebrate the 65th Anniversary of the starting of the Church of Scientology. Currently thriving on 6 continents, the Scientology religion is experiencing greater expansion than in any time in its history, and so are its efforts to promote, defend and protect freedom of religion or believe for all citizens in the world. The Church has recently joined the Faith and Freedom Summit NGO Coalition in Europe becoming an important stakeholder on the subject, and is actively participating at the Geneva UN NGO Committee on FoRB and the Washington International Religious Freedom Roundtable.

“You are a spirit,” wrote L. Ron Hubbard in 1954. “You are your own soul. You are not mortal. You can be free.”

Less than 4 years after the release of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, a group of Scientologists in Los Angeles incorporated the very first Church of Scientology when it was clear to them that this new subject to them was most definitely a religion.

In the last chapter of the book Dianetics, released in May 1950, Mr. Hubbard set 2 goals: “further research into life force” and “an effort to discover a higher echelon of universal origin and destination.”

By Feb. 18, 1954, he had actually accomplished these objectives as well as registered his route of study and research as well as discovery through 450 recorded conferences and also 7 new books.

What he had actually accomplished led the subject directly into the world of faith, religion and spirituality. By establishing processes that could make exteriorization happen — the separation of the spirit from the body– he verified that the Human Beings are actually immortal spiritual beings.

Through the continuation of his task, he supplied a total record of his research into the enigma of existence, the puzzle of death and his mapping of a path to spiritual freedom– all of it fully preserved now for every future generations.

For 65 years since that day, the church has continued to expand throughout the globe. The founder’s publications are now readily available in 50 languages and some of them in more. Scientology has now millions of members as well as churches, missions and groups in 167 nations.

Since almost one year now, March 2018, the church launched the Scientology Network making the religion available to any person, anywhere, causing more people beginning their travel in Scientology than at any previous time since the founding of the movement.

In the past few years, the church has opened 70 new churches from Los Angeles to LondonBogotá to Berlin and Tel Aviv to Tokyo , and counts with an almost 8000 square meters church in the capitals of Europe, Brussels, from where its social campaigns are coordinated in the continent through its Public Affairs and Human Rights Office.

It is under the care and leadership of Mr. David Miscavige, ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, that the church has actually experienced bigger growth in the last decade than in the previous half a century altogether.

Ivan Arjona-Pelado, President of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights, which is included in the Transparency Registry of the European Union, congratulates “all Scientologists around the world and specially the ones Europe” for “the dedication through generations of ensuring the existence of Scientology into its current state”, so that all citizens can now “benefit from the workable solutions and programs that the Church is carrying out in Europe to help having a more moral, united, civic, educated, healthy and free society”.

“For countless ages, a goal of religion has been the salvage of the human soul,” wrote L. Ron Hubbard in Phoenix in 1954. Man can save his soul. Like the bright cool dawn after a night of prison and of thunder, Man can taste that freedom sought so long … We are extending to you the precious gift of freedom and immortality — factually, honestly. You are a spirit, You are your own soul. You are not mortal. You can be free.”

Scientology Europe participates as co-organizer at Human Rights event in United Nations Geneva

The Church of Scientology participated as one of the main co-sponsors of the event of the 70th Anniversary of the UDHR organized by over 20 civil society organizations and Permanent Missions of Estonia, Finland, Philippine and Slovac Republic.

The event, celebrated on December 10th at the original UN room of the League of Nations between 1936 and 1946 in Geneva [Room VII], was headed and organized by CAP Freedom of Conscience and the Fundacion Vida Green Ecological Group, two human rights organizations with which the Church of Scientology work tightly to defend the rights of everyone on earth, fighting religious persecutions, human trafficking and as well as racial discriminations and of all sorts.

In representation of the Church was Mr. Ivan Arjona-Pelado, President of the Brussels based European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs, who was honored with being one of the Masters of Ceremonies of the celebration because of his key implication in the organization of the event.

During his speech at the panel dedicated to the actions of faith-based organization to promote Human Rights, Mr. Arjona-Pelado spoke of the origins of the Creed of the Church of Scientology, which developed by founder L. Ron Hubbard states that “all Men [meaning both Men and Women] of whatever race, color or creed were created with equal rights… inalienable rights to their own religious practices and their performance… inalienable rights to their own lives…” and also made reference to the work being done through the campaigns UNITED for HUMAN RIGHTS and YOUTH for HUMAN RIGHTS because of the incredible materials they have produced with the support of the Church and its members.

He continued saying that: we not only urge our own people to KNOW, LEARN and APPLY the UDHR, but we also make sure everyone around us get to know them. It is our duty to engage civil servants, diplomats, with people from different beliefs and non believers, to make sure that the Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion can be enjoyed by every human being, and it is in this light that we have fought for this right and others at the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the OSCE and even the United Nations Human Rights Council, defending Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and every other existing religion and ways of belief”.

And he concluded with this final statement and call: “We should all be UNITED for HUMAN RIGHTS, we should all STANDUP4HUMANRIGHTS. Lets share our success stories, lets use the materials provided by many, to make Human Rights, in this 70th Anniversary of the UDHR, a sustainable reality well in its way”.

Among the circa 120 participants to the event, there were representatives of numerous civil society organizations, as well as personnel from the UN Permanent Missions of Armenia, Angola, Congo, Cuba, Gabon, Georgia, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Soudan, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Zambia.

With speeches from over 20 NGOs, churches and activists, the attendees learned a grasp of good practices around the world to make Human Rights known, being education a key factor most of the speeches.

The Conference was structured with different themes, and starting with a panel in which the co-organizing missions encouraged all the activists to keep working on Human Rights and to do it together with the states.

This was followed with the screening of the award-winning documentary ”The History of Human Rights” (www.humanrights.com), produced by United for Human Rights and Youth for Human Rights, and which the attendees applauded with great enthusiasm and admiration.

The 2nd panel topic was: Education – Knowing and understanding the UDHR to apply it, was moderated by Mr. Luis Alberto Alarcon-Valencia, Chairman of the ECOSOC Foundation Life Green Ecological Group, and had the participation of the representatives of “Humanidad de Oro” [Mexico], “United for Human Rights International”, “Association of Training and Orientation to the Refugee and Migrants (FOARE)[Spain-Colombia-Venezuela], “Foundation for a Drug Free Europe” [Sweden], and “Corporación Vida SILOE” (Colombia-Spain).

The topic of the 3rd panel: Faith based organizations committing to the UDHR, was moderated by Mr. Martin Weightman, Director of the UK based All Faiths Network, who had the participation of the representatives of “Assoc. for the Promotion of the Dialogue Intercultural and Interreligious” [Switzerland], “United Sikh International” [United Kingdom], “Muslim Ahmadiyya Community”, “Church of the Light of the World” [USA and Mexico], “Center of Studies on New Religions CESNUR” and the “European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs”.

The 4th and last panel was about the Commitment of activists with public authorities to further & protect the UDHR and it was moderated by Mr. Eric Roux in his capacity of Chairman of the “European Inter-Religious Forum for Religious Freedom” and had the participation of representatives from “Gerard Noodt Foundation” [Holland], “Soteria International [Denmark], “European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion” and the “Fundacion para la Mejora de la Vida, la Cultura y la Sociedad” [Spain].

EuropeanGazette interviews Ivan Arjona-Pelado on Scientology

Written By: Seringe S.T. Touray for the www.europeangazette.com

Visible from the peaks of some of Madrid’s high-rise structures is the municipality of Pozuelo de Alarcon at a distance, surrounded by Mediterranean pine-tree forests, my family has made this part of the Spanish Kingdom home for a decade. With a mere ten-minute drive from the region of Pozuelo, one might easily chance upon the busy intersection of Plaza de Cibeles, the iconic square in the heart of Madrid overseen by the Cybele Palace. At a walking distance from this centre of the vibrant city stands conspicuously the Church of Scientology in Madrid.

With the help of the Church, I was put in touch with Iván Arjona Pelado – Director General of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights in Brussels, and President of the Church of Scientology in Spain. Iván Arjona was kind enough to grant my request for an interview in which to discuss important topics regarding Scientology and Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard, and the religion’s perception through the lens of the general political world. Iván was born and raised in Tarragona, a Spanish city by the Mediterranean Sea, and would eventually elect to dedicate his life to the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has maintained his position as President of the Church of Scientology in Spain since 2007.

The world of politics is shaped by culture. As the society evolves, so does the political climate. The political perception of Scientology is thus partly dependent on the social perception of the Church and of the philosophy of L. Ron Hubbard. Therefore, my interview with Iván Arjona delves into what he believes the public perception of Scientology is.

In your time in Spain, what would you say the public image of the Church of Scientology has been?

I would say there has been an increasing interest and a real 360 degrees change since 1997. There are more and more people who just want to find out what Scientology is and what it could do for them. Of course most of them have heard all the non-sense that groups of vested interests have always been pushing, and when they come in we offer freedom and hope. Some specific people and groups don’t like that. Overall society is enduring a change, and looking more and more for effective solutions, so the image (of Scientology) will keep improving more and more.

How do you communicate with people who have no knowledge about Scientology or L. Ron Hubbard, but are interested in learning?

What’s best is to introduce them to our Church of Scientology audiovisual exhibit, which has over 500 short videos in 17 languages. These videos explain the creed of the church, including topics like The Reactive Mind and how to overcome it, and even videos explaining tools for better personal communication and the social activities that scientologists do all over the world. And after that the best is that they get a book by Mr. Hubbard and read it. Some of the best for starters are DIANETICS, THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THOUGHT, and SELF-ANALYSIS. They are all three very practical.

Among other things, L. Ron Hubbard’s DIANETICS talks about how influential the subconscious is, and how vastly it affects our consciousness. Do you therefore see it as your duty or responsibility to educate and awaken people by introducing them to Scientology and the teachings of Hubbard?

I believe DIANETICS can help people find the best version of themselves, and if everyone finds or unveils this best version, it will benefit mankind, so I would find it a bit egoistic to keep it only for me and my friends. Therefore, yes, it is my responsibility, and this is how I get up in the morning and how I go to bed at night, looking at what I am going to do today to further extend the possibility of unadulterated knowledge of Scientology for everyone.

Religion is a personal thing. Many would like to get into the mind of a scientologist to better understand Scientology. As a member of the Church, what is Scientology to you?

The funny part is that to really catch it, you need to experience it yourself. No sales speech would do justice as to what Scientology is and does for you, or better expressed, what Scientology enables you to do for yourself and others. To me, it is a tool to make this world a better place. It is a tool that is actually a religion, which gets me closer and closer to the true power and essence of life, and by increasing this connection, this knowledge about it, I increase my ability to help others and in this way help myself.

Millions have access to information regarding Scientology. But many with insufficient knowledge about the religion and the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard condemn its practices. What message do you have for such people who voice their disapproval of Scientology?

I advise them to read a book by L. Ron Hubbard, and look for things they can agree with. They will surprise themselves of how many things Mr. Hubbard wrote that if well understood are common to the deepest purposes and thoughts of mankind. However, they have to be brave enough to honestly look into it and make up their own minds, and not everybody is ready yet to find this bravery, but time will come. Times will be easier and easier, and even those currently criticizing will at one point recognize for themselves that Scientology can actually help them.

Ever since L. Ron Hubbard, many have argued that Scientology is not a religion. How would you respond to them?

There are more and more people, courts, governments and experts that recognize Scientology as a religion. Another thing is some media controlled by powerful vested interests. Scientology is a religion in the deepest meaning of the word. Now, we know that the word religion has been manipulated through the centuries to enslave people, but this is again, certain groups of vested interests who want people out of religion, as religion is somehow knowledge, and knowledge, it is said, will set you free. Scientology is knowledge, it has a transcendental goal, it has certain practices to achieve this transcendental goal, and it has a community (a growing one) that exercises these practices to achieve this higher goal.

How does the religion of Scientology affect your relationship with your family and friends?

Personally, Scientology has been of great and invaluable help. It gave me back my parents as a united loving couple. It gave me back my sister. Scientology has helped me be more able to do what I always wanted to do, which is to help people be free, be honest, be willing to help others. I see no possible higher pay that I could get. No money in the world could be compared to the feeling one gets when one effectively helps a relative, a friend, or anyone who is in need.

Madrid City Council presents first “Manual for the police management of religious diversity” of Spain with the participation of the Church of Scientology

  • The document was presented on December 17th, by the delegate of the Area of ​​Health, Safety and Emergencies, Javier Barbero; the deputy director of the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation, Puerto García; and the third deputy mayor and head of the Human Rights Plan of the Madrid City Council, Mauricio Valiente
  • In its elaboration all the religious confessions present in the city of Madrid have participated

MADRID CITY COUNCIL / CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY  – Madrid 17th Dec 2018. Five days after the 11th anniversary of the inclusion of Scientology in the Special Registry of Religious Orgnizations by the Spain Ministry of Justice (12th Dec 2007), the City of Madrid and the Foundation Pluralism and Coexistence present a Manual for the local police to help them increase their knowledge, respect and care to the religious diversity in Madrid.

“Scientologists of Madrid, Spain and Europe at large are happy with such a development pioneer in Spain but probably also in the whole of Europe, in which our church has had the honor to take part in” said Ivan Arjona, President of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights. “Every other European capitals should follow the lead of Madrid and engage with all religions present in their area to help improve the understanding of the differences and common purpose for sustainable development and growth of their cities and wellbeing of their citizens” concluded Arjona.

The manual includes a factual but brief description of Scientology, its history and practices (as well of for the other religions), and also the main religious festivities of everyone, in which they included the birthday celebration of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard (Marc 13th), the founding of the International Association of Scientologists in October, the “Auditor’s Day” (the Scientology ministers), and the anniversary of the release of the first Scientology related book, the bestseller Dianetics (May 9th, 1950).

The Delegate of the Area of ​​Health, Safety and Emergencies, Javier Barbero; the deputy director of the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation, Puerto García, and the third deputy mayor and head of the Human Rights Plan of the Madrid City Council, Mauricio Valiente, presented last 17th of December 2018 the “Manual of police management of religious diversity”, the first of Spain and in which all the religious denominations present in the city of Madrid have participated.

The document has been prepared by the Diversity Management Unit of the Municipal Police of Madrid with the collaboration of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, the Archbishopric of Madrid, the Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities of Spain, the Jewish Communities Federation of Spain, the Spanish Islamic Commission, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses, Federation of Buddhist Communities of Spain, Orthodox, Baha’i Community, Hindu, Church of Scientology and Sikhs within the framework of a Cooperation Agreement of the Area of ​​Health, Safety and Emergencies of the Madrid City Council and the Foundation Pluralism and Coexistence, under the Ministry of Justice.

Javier Barbero has been very satisfied with this manual because “all the religious denominations present in Madrid have cooperated on this document. This is a way of expressing that we are capable of reaching agreements, and that we are capable of integrating differences in a city that can be plural and inclusive”.

Mauricio Valiente said: “This manual is a first step of a normative that will regulate the freedom of conscience and religious plurality in the city of Madrid in which we are working with a group of entities. We hope to have it approved in January and that includes not only police management but also participation in religious ceremonies and other aspects, to have a framework of rights and thus the City of Madrid takes an important step in a matter in which there is hardly any type of regulation”.

Finally, Puerto Garcia, general deputy director of the Foundation Pluralism and Coexistence (from the Spain Ministry of Justice), has indicated that the Foundation especially value the manual because “it is a pioneer, is an area which the Foundation and the Ministry had not yet developed, we had worked in the field of town-planning, funeral services, etc., but not in this one. Today with it we have a reference manual for other municipal police services and with which we advance a lot because although it is a matter of state competence, people live in cities, and in the end people exercise their rights in cities, including the one of religious freedom.”

Religious richness and diversity

The City of Madrid is characterized by the social diversity that is composed of, and there is a whole heterogeneous group of people who provide religious, social and cultural enrichment, where all of them enjoy the same rights and duties. As a reflection of this Right, in the City of Madrid one finds multiple and diverse religious denominations, which, for their own exercise and development, establish their places of worship.

On the date on which this document is drawn up, the Observatory of Religious Pluralism in Spain indicates that there are 7,131 places of assembly destined for the worship of other religious confessions other than Catholic. The city of Madrid, in particular, houses 504 of these places of worship. If we break down the data by denominations, those with the highest number of places of worship in the municipality of Madrid, except Catholic, are the Evangelical with 366 churches, followed by the Muslim community with 40, Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses with 20 and the Buddhist and Orthodox confessions with 18 and 15 places of worship respectively.

In the day to day of the city of Madrid, and for this reason of coexistence of numerous religious confessions, one could run into acts of intolerance, discrimination or situations of conflict towards or between people who practice different religions.

On the other hand, the celebration of different liturgies and other manifestations of the different worships and rites, are faced with other interests of citizenship, and so conflicts between different fundamental rights may arise, basically complaints about problems of coexistence derived from noise or use of the public space. On many occasions the management of these conflicts corresponds to the Municipal Police, and to better manage the conflict it is necessary to increase the knowledge about the reality of the religious diversity of the city of Madrid.

For this reason, the ‘Manual of police management of religious diversity’ has been drafted, as a consultation document for commanders and police of the Municipal Police of Madrid.

The document consists of a conceptual framework on the religious diversity present in Madrid and also reflects the regulatory framework in which they relate to public authorities. The text also includes various indications on how police action should be in certain situations for which you can request Municipal Police services, such as places of worship, the use of roads and public spaces or school cafeteria services.

Also included in the manual the police finds annexes with additional information on the activity of the places of worship and their symbolisms, main festivities and events with greater public repercussion, list of places of worship in Madrid.

Recognized rights

The Right to Freedom of Religion or Worship is recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its article 18, which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes the freedom to change one’s religion or belief, as well as the freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief individually and collectively, both in public and private, by teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

It is also included in the Spanish Constitution as a fundamental right, in article 16.1, which guarantees “the right to freedom of ideology, religion and worship for individuals and communities without further limitation, in their manifestations, than what would be necessary for the keeping of public order. protected by law.”

#STANDUP4HUMANRIGHTS #DERECHOSHUMANOS #SCIENTOLOGY #FORB #FORBDEFENDERS

Scientology TV launches news season, including European content 🗺

Los Angeles (CA) – Tonight, Monday, October 8, 2018 at 8 pm the Scientology Network begins its second season with more than 60 new episodes showing every aspect of the world’s youngest major religion and its global humanitarian mission.

Since launching on March 12 with more than 70 hours of programming, the Scientology Network has been viewed in 237 countries and territories worldwide in 17 languages spotlighting the lives of Scientologists; showing the Church as a global organization; and presenting its social betterment programs that have touched the lives of millions.

The network has been praised for shattering the paradigm of religious broadcasting, ushering in a new era that shows a religion in action, making the world better. The Scientology Network doesn’t preach but, instead, through its dynamic selection of programs, simply shows the religion, its members and its work, so that viewers can see for themselves and this new Fall season includes also European content.

The network also uniquely features the good works of those across all major faiths, while providing a platform for independent filmmakers www.scientology.tv/series/documentary-showcase/  to air poignant, uplifting films on important social issues that underscore the goodness of the human spirit and show how determined individuals can make a difference.

The new season will launch with a three-hour special featuring programs across the channel’s spectrum of content, including:

Inside Scientology as it goes behind the scenes at Scientology Media Productions, where all television programming is produced and broadcast.

Meet a Scientologist spotlighting an acclaimed Emmy Award-winning television and film composer.

Destination: Scientology goes inside the Church of Scientology in the heart of New York City.

Voices for Humanity shows the efforts of a courageous champion for drug education who takes on New Jersey’s addiction crisis.

Is It Possible to Be Happy?, the landmark article in L. Ron Hubbard’s own voice.

For more information on the network debut, click here: https://www.scientology.tv/news/new-scientology-network-season-debuts.html

You can see the Scientology Network on DirecTV channel 320 or through live streaming via www.scientology.tv or:

APPLE TV app download here — AMAZON FIRE TV app download here —  ROKU app download here

Discover Scientology UNCENSORED, the history and aim of our new TV Channel

By MICHAEL BRENNAN & DAN LUZADDER. Years in the planning, the Church’s new television network reaches every corner of the planet with a message about helping others.

The Scientology Network went live with the flip of a switch at 8 p.m. on March 12, 2018, instantly ushering in a momentous new era by which the religion is disseminated to millions of people across the United States and hundreds of millions more worldwide over the internet. From the three-story atrium of the Church’s landmark Flag Building at its spiritual home in Clearwater, Florida, Mr. David Miscavige, ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, welcomed the world to the network with a powerful introduction during its first minutes on the air to explain the mission of something that redefines religious broadcasting.

“You’ve probably heard of Scientology,” Mr. Miscavige stated. “In fact, every six seconds someone searches the question, ‘What is Scientology?’ There’s a lot of talk about us, and we get it. People are curious. Well, we want to answer your questions, because, frankly, whatever you have heard, if you haven’t heard it from us, I can assure you, we are not what you expect.”

Mr. David Miscavige, Ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion

WELCOME — Mr. David Miscavige welcomes viewers to the launch of the Scientology Network from the atrium of the Church’s 21st-century Flag Building in Clearwater, Florida.

“Scientology is a dynamic and expanding religion, and we’re going to be showing you all of it.”

Mr. David Miscavige, Ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion

Mr. Miscavige described to the audience watching on TV screens, computers and mobile devices worldwide the purpose of the new Scientology Network—let viewers see and experience the religion for themselves with a fresh take on the religious broadcasting genre. People would view what they never see in the media today—who Scientologists are, what Scientology is and what Scientology can do—as told by Scientologists themselves around the world for the first time on any network. “Scientology is a dynamic and expanding religion, and we’re going to be showing you all of it.”

Mr. Miscavige continued: “Let’s be clear, we’re not here to preach to you, to convince you or to convert you. No, we simply want to show you. Because, after all, the first principle of Scientology is that ‘It’s only true if it is true for you.’”

With the launch of the Scientology Network, as outlined within this special edition of Freedom magazine, the Church is opening new frontiers in its global effort to bring about a better world.

The Scientology religion is expanding at an ever-quickening pace. It is attracting new members daily. New Churches are being built around the world to accommodate the demand, and to serve as centers for its humanitarian missions, including its efforts to reduce drug abuse and dependence, to improve learning through educational programs, to encourage and support social justice and human rights and to teach the lessons that Mr. Hubbard found crucial in fostering change.

As you will read in this special edition, the Church of Scientology now has the means to tell its own story by showing the world who Scientologists are, what they do and the work they do to help bring about an advanced civilization and society, developing and perfecting the technological expertise behind the message. And that message is, and has always been, to realize the goal of a world without insanity, without criminals, without war—one, as Mr. Hubbard envisioned, where man is free to rise to greater heights.

The Church has been dedicated to doing this work for many years, and it has had an impact. Its humanitarian programs have reached tens of millions of people, bringing opportunity and hope. As the world’s youngest major religion, and the only one able to bring the world the unadulterated words and insights of its Founder, it is now embarked on a greater mission: to bring Scientology solutions and Scientology spiritual understanding to millions more people on every continent of Earth.

But, for many around the world, the story of Scientology and its benefits and insights into human spirituality have been misunderstood and mischaracterized, sometimes purposely distorted. That has not been unexpected, because the Church has faced what all world religions have faced, especially when they are new: skepticism, doubt and critics. But now, as this new era of communication unfolds, the Church can begin to tell its own story, factually, frankly and fully.

Scientology not only helps individuals discover their own spirituality, it honors good works, creativity, imagination, compassion and goodwill.

Those who come with curiosity about Scientology find it represents something unique: its technology is neither obscure nor in dispute. Scientologists the world over have the benefit of the living words of the Church’s Founder, who devoted his life to developing a gift to Mankind—the gift of understanding oneself, of reaching greater spiritual awareness, and the important recognition that Man’s inalienable human rights are shared by the souls of men. These have been important steps within the religion’s quest for human and spiritual freedom, and are reflected in the accounts that follow of how, and why, the Church has reached this historic moment in time.

From its history and development to its principles and acceptance throughout the world, this is a story like none ever told of any religion before, with elements both ancient and modern. And it is now told in the most modern way possible, by bringing the Church’s own television channel to the nations of the world.

Scientology not only helps individuals discover their own spirituality, it honors good works, creativity, imagination, compassion and goodwill. It reaches out to people around the world to disseminate its primary message: that the greatest human right is the right to help. And that is its overarching purpose, its intent and its mission, bound by its Founder never to forsake.

Church members have expressed their excitement to come to this place in the Church’s history, and from here they see a bright future. Scientologists know Scientology works for millions. And through this new network, viewers can discover how seriously the work of the Church is taken—work to clear the pathways to peace and happiness that Founder L. Ron Hubbard discovered, explained and codified. Viewers will see how it positively affects the lives of Scientologists.

This is the Church’s story, its vision and realization of the technology that allowed it to develop the kind of communication to help achieve its aims and its hopes for all of Mankind. Hearing the true story, learning about the unique insights that Scientology technology offers to Mankind, and sharing with Scientologists everywhere the message of hope that the Church has for a better world, introduces new perspectives on ancient questions. The Church is intent on bringing new light to an old world in a bold, new way, and with unassailable aims, on the path that its Founder envisioned, with the road ahead clearly marked by his insights on the human condition.

Read FULL article in FREEDOMMAG.ORG

Church of Scientology partners for the launch event of the European Faith and Freedom Summit

BRUSSELS—On June 28 at the Solvay Library, situated just behind the European Parliament in the Parc Leopold, a large group of faith and government representatives met in what has been termed the launch of the Faith and Freedom Summit.

The European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights has been partnering with NGOs and the Alliance of Conservative and Reformists in Europe (3rd EU political party) to organize this non-partisan launch event of the Faith and Freedom Summit.

Official photo of the Vatican with Bishop Schirrmacher and Pope Francis © L’Osservatore Romano

So much hope was placed upon this conference to address and resolve the divisions caused by intolerance that Archbishop Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher from the World Evangelical Alliance attended just after meeting with Pope Francis in Rome to receive the personal blessings of the Pontiff and his wishes for the Summit’s success.

The 80 participants—religious leaders and scholars, human rights advocates, members of the European Parliament, and other leaders from throughout Europe—included representatives from the United States and from as far away as Indonesia.

Richard Milsom, Chief Executive of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe, introduced the conference and the importance to act now with reference to Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), especially in light of the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December.

His speech was followed by a video address from Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, who spoke on the importance of European external and internal policies in regard to the freedom of religion or belief. He asked every Member of the European Parliament to sign the pledge of the Faith and Freedom Summit campaign that reads:

“I pledge that I will uphold and defend the freedom of conscience and religion of all individuals by rejecting and speaking out against bigotry, discrimination, harassment and violence; and so build a more equitable society for all.”

Panel discussions focused on the need for implementation of bold policies committed to freedom of religion or belief. These panels discussed what could and should be done to strengthen application of these policies to ensure these benefits carry through to every individual in the European Union.

During his keynote speech, Jan Figel, EU Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the European Union, declared:

“For the sake of our external credibility we need to show coherence in external and internal policy”

Figel also exposed the different types of religiofobias that can be found, despite of all efforts so far, Europe, and how looking into the internal issues will help to protect FoRB in the rest of world.

 

According to Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights: “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others”, and in this regards, the statements of the different keynote speakers could not be more relevant.

In the beginning of afternoon, it was the turn of Salvatore Martinez, Rep of the Italian presidency at OSCE for Freedom of Religion, to say in a moving keynote speech:

“The denial of freedom of religion put at risks the most basic rights of everyone, and when this denial concerns a whole religious community, it endangers peace and security between states themselves. Freedom of religion must also be respected in its collective dimension.”

 

The impressive list of speakers and panellists made it maybe the most important event on Freedom of Religion that happened in Brussels since decades. The list included:

Amjad Bashir MEP, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament; Sam Brownback, U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom; Congressman Bob McEwen, Former Member, American Delegation to the European Parliament; Bashy Quraishy, Secretary General of EMISCO (European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion); Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros, Director of International Affairs for VOX (Spanish political party); Dr. Eli Nacht, Official Representative of International Committee of Human Rights in Israel; Patricia Duval, Human Rights Attorney; Willy Fautre, Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers International; Dr Aaron Rhodes, President of the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe; Professor Marco Ventura, Professor of Law & Religion at University of Siena; Hans Noot, Director of the Gerard Noodt Foundation; Ivan Arjona, President of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights; Greg Mitchell, Co-Chair, International Religious Freedom Roundtable; Vincent Berger, Former Jurisconsult of European Court of Human Rights; Archibishop Thomas Schirrmacher, President of the International Society for Human Rights; Dr. Juan Ferreiro Galguera, Professor of Law and Religion, University of A Coruña; Rosita Soryte, Lithuanian diplomat, President of the International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees; Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz, USCIRF Commissioner and Vice-Chairwoman of the Commission; Dr. Alessandro (Alex) Amicarelli, Chairman of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB); Martin Weightman, Director of the All Faiths Network in the UK; Adina Portaru, Legal Counsel for ADF International in Belgium

In a final keynote speech, Eric Roux, Vice President of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights, delivered the following message:

“Freedom of religion or belief has no religion. It has no political side. What people believe is their most ultimate freedom. Their link to God, or to the ultimate sense of life, and the expression of these inner beliefs are the most profound richness of a human being. That is why freedom of religion or belief must be fought for all, always, with no consideration of whatever faith one chooses.”

The faith and Freedom Summit will continue as a global campaign. The pledge of the Summit will be soon open for signatures for all, and especially for candidates to the 2019 European Parliament elections. Follow-up at www.faithandfreedomsummit.eu.

The event organized by ACRE was co-sponsored by the Church of Scientology, the Foundation for the Improvement of Life, Culture and Society, the Coordiantion of Associations and People for Freedom of Conscience, and the UK based All Faiths Network.

The European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights is registered with number 872253227782-36 since 18/07/2017 in “Section V – Organisations representing churches and religious communities” of the European Transparency Register. Scientology is a recognized religion in many of the European systems already and by the European Court of Human Rights, and participates in the Civil Society Platform of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union.

 

 

28 June – EU Faith and Freedom Summit 🗓 🗺

Attend the upcomming Summit on “FAITH AND FREEDOM SUMMIT: Practicing what we preach in Europe”.

 

 

Among the speakers you will find:

  • Dr. Ahmed Shaheed – Special Rapporteur on human rights to UN Human Rights Council
  • Jan Figel – EU Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU
  • Salvatore Martinez – Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office 2018 on Combatting Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination, Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians and Members of other Religions
  • Bashy Quraishy – Secretary General of EMISCO
  • Dr. Ahmed Shaheed – Special Rapporteur on human rights to UN Human Rights Council
  • Dr. Eli Nacht – Official Representative of International Committee of Human Rights in Israel
  • Patricia Duval – Human Rights Attorney
  • Willy Fautre – Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers International
  • Sam Brownback – U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom
  • Aaron Rhodes – President of the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe
  • Marco Ventura – Professor of Law & Religion at University of Siena
  • Hans Noot – Director of the Gerard Noodt Foundation
  • Greg Mitchell – Co-Chair, International Religious Freedom Roundtable
  • Vincent Berger – Former Jurisconsult of European Court of Human Rights
  • Thomas Schirrmacher – President of the International Society for Human Rights
  • Rev. Eric Roux – Vice-President of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights
  • Ivan Arjona-Pelado – President and Director General of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights
  • Dr. Juan Ferreiro-Galguera – Professor of Law and Religion, University of A Coruña
  • Rosita Soryte – Lithuanian diplomat, President of the International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees

 

It is with great pleasure that I would like to invite you to participate in the inaugural “Faith and Freedom” Summit that will take place in Brussels on June 28th, 2018.

With the 2019 European elections in sight, we believe that the time has come to address Freedom of Religion or Belief as an important topic to be tackled in the EU.
Hosted by ACRE, The Faith and Freedom Summit, is a cross-party initiative, and will involve politicians from all sides, as well as several civil society stakeholders.

We, as others, are committed to freedom of religion or belief, and we believe that the EU has more to do with it than only tackling it in its external relations, as it is the case nowadays. If we want to have a legitimate influence outside of the EU border, we must be beyond reproach within our borders. And this is simply not the case in the present time.

We strongly believe that EU citizens must enjoy a real freedom of religion or belief, at every level, and that this fundamental right is not given the importance it deserves in the EU institutions, and in the EU instruments to protect the various freedoms of EU citizens.

http://www.acreurope.eu/event/faith_and_freedom_summit

Co-Organizing and sponsoring the summit:

European Coordination for Freedom of ConscienceFundacion Para La MejoraAll Faiths NetworkEuropean Office of the Church of Scientology

Scientology protected by Budapest District Court in front of Hungarian National Security

BLASTINGNEWS.COM Court declares raid and seizure at the Church unlawful, and grants no appeal.

In a significant decision, today the Church won a major victory when the Central District Court of Buda declared that the raid on the Church by the National Bureau of Investigation (NNI) was unlawful.

 As a result, the National Bureau of Investigation (NNI) has to return hundreds of boxes of unlawfully seized documents and IT tools.

Court found raid violated rights

#The Court found that the raid and seizure conducted on October 18, 2017, violated the constitutional rights of the Church by being coercive and restrictive.

The #Church Of Scientology and its legal representatives filed legal objections which were first rejected by the Capital City Prosecutor’s Office but overturned by the Court today which annulled the decision of the NNI and the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The court emphasised that the investigating authority fundamentally violated the principle of necessity and proportionality as laid down the law. Therefore this court decision may also be of value to other authorities who made the same violations in regards to the Church of Scientology, says lawyer Istvan Szikinger.

“We are very pleased with the court’s decision and we are confident that the entire procedure will be resolved rapidly in our favour, with our constitutionally protected rights fully restored”, said Attila Miklovicz, spokesperson of the Church.

Peaceful demonstrations

Scientologists and friends from all over Europe and including the United States have done many peaceful demonstrations in Budapest, reminding the Hungarians the different atrocities that specific people using the power of governments have done throughout the Hungarian history.

The European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights, directed by the Ivan Arjona-Pelado, has also been denouncing the situation at the OSCE in Warsaw and to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, explaining and providing data and facts of the different discrimination acts of which Scientologists have been subject by very specific people within the Hungarian government including from the one who should have been protecting the privacy of Scientologists and all citizens.

The Scientology religion in Hungary was first recognised as such since the beginning of its existence and is one of the very few religions that has managed to survive and keep growing despite the repressive changes that the authorities have done with their law enacted on 2011. Its growth in Europe and worldwide is non-stop and keeps adding new churches and charitable activities all over the world.

The Law on the Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion was adopted on 12 July, recognising only 14 out of the more than 300 groups that were previously properly registered in Hungary.

Europe was present at the Youth for Human Rights International representatives from 42 nations were a noteworthy pressence at the 2017 International Human Rights Summit at the United Nations

The fourteenth Annual International Human Rights Summit, prepared by Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI), an arm of United for Human Rights, was held at United Nations central station in New York City in August 2017. Approximately 360 individuals from 64 nations, including ambassadors, U.N. diplomats, human rights activists, teachers and agents of nongovernmental associations, participated at the three-day occasion, which was trailed by an open house in the Church of Scientology Community Center in Harlem.

Solidarity IN DIVERSITY The summit included youth activists, chose for their achievements in raising human rights mindfulness.

Youth for Human Rights agents informed envoys and representatives on the fundamental role the Church plays in supporting the YHRI battle.

Diplomats from Cambodia and Panama welcomed YHRI for high-level meetings with their authorities in the ministries of education and those of foreign policy and different offices to examine the potential for receiving human rights programs in the two countries. Furthermore, negotiators from Italy, Ireland, Brazil and Liechtenstein investigated approaches to hold comparable meetings between their states and YHRI.

When a significant part of the world is wracked by a broad refugee crisis, fanatic viciousness and the risky ascent of religious persecution, United for Human Rights proceeds to overwhelmingly reaffirm and protect the fundamental values of human rights in its mission to help bring international rules of social equality.

Standing up Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu, illustrative of Youth for Human Rights Africa, addresses delegates, lamenting Africa’s human rights infringement.

United for Human Rights, bolstered by the Church of Scientology, works together with government offices and nongovernmental associations to spread mindfulness and execution of the standards revered in the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration, which has been translated into more than 500 dialects and tongues, holds that not only are individuals similarly qualified for their human rights wherever they are with no discrimination, yet that their rights—to education, work and equity, for instance—are interrelated, indivisible and interdependent.

At the human rights summit in New York City, YHRI delegates from various foundations worked with each other and exchanged their succesful programs and practices in educating others about human rights in their local areas. Other than direct coaching and on-the-ground information sharing, the representatives met with top-level state authorities from countries extending from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Cuba to France, Ireland and Italy. The authorities imparted their own knowledge and experiences of learning to the adolescents and gave them with a platform that spans internationally.

The founding president of YHRI, Mary Shuttleworth, was the master of ceremonies at the summit, which included roundtables on the overall scourge of human trafficking, and leadership and group activism. Marisol Nichols, performing artist and founder of Foundation for a Slavery Free World, a nonprofit against trafficking, showed a film to the delegates about her covert work to uncover human trafficking.

Previous Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sánchez, who won the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in helping put an end to Central American common wars, was the summit’s keynote speaker. Shuttleworth gave Sánchez YHRI’s Human Rights Hero Award.

 

In the Streets of Budapest: Speaking Out for Religious Freedom

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY—Scientologists from 27 nations demonstrated their commitment to religious freedom, joining Hungarian members of their religion in a march through the city to protest illegal government intrusion into the peaceful practice of their faith.

The marchers—1,500 strong, including many friends from other religions—gathered at Deák Ferenc Square in the center of Budapest where a prominent member of the Hungarian Church, Timea Vojtilla, expressed the Scientologists’ determination to overcome all barriers to freedom and to establish genuine religious freedom for everyone.

 

Timea Vojtilla

After citing the nation’s proud legacy of freedom, extending back to the Edict of Torda in 1568—an enlightened statement of religious tolerance—she declared, “We are here to show and demand that our country, Hungary, can return to be the home of religious freedom again.” Based upon a 2011 law that withdrew recognition from all but 14 of 362 religious organizations, the national government has been discriminating against an array of faiths, including non-Catholic Christians, Jews, Muslims, members of Eastern religions, and Scientologists.

Vojtilla then introduced author Istvan Nemere, who spoke passionately about experiences during Hungary’s Communist era, when freedom was savagely suppressed. His message emphasized how vital the cause of religious freedom is to the future of the nation and its people.

Following the speeches, marchers made their way through the streets of Budapest, across the Danube River via the famous Chain Bridge, and on to Alexander Palace, home of the nation’s president.

Actress and humanitarian Ruddy Rodriguez, who flew in from South America to support the demonstrators, spoke about the ever-growing importance in today’s world of working for increased religious tolerance and peace.

Following the speeches, marchers made their way through the streets of Budapest, across the Danube River via the famous Chain Bridge, and on to Alexander Palace, home of the nation’s president.

Processing march over the Danube river

As the procession moved through the streets, actors depicted for onlookers some of history’s most egregious violations of religious tolerance and freedom, such as the Inquisition. Marchers from many countries unfurled their national flags to demonstrate solidarity with the messages of liberty and tolerance, while drums thundered and chants for religious freedom filled the air.

At Alexander Palace, as the historical re-enactors flanked the colorful stage, the president of the Church of Scientology of Hungary, Attila Miklovicz, read a declaration from the Church’s members demanding freedom to practice their religion without governmental hindrance or persecution. It was a strong message that resonated with the attendees of many faiths.

At the close of the event, Timea Vojtilla read each line of the Creed of the Church of Scientology. As she did so, the crowd repeated the words. This was in itself a moving affirmation of freedom and human rights, and a fitting culmination to the march that demonstrated their commitment to stand up for their religion and for freedom itself regardless of any attempt at oppression.