Preserving Human Rights for All
The opening of Brussels office makes a milestone in expansion of the Scientology religion in Europe — European officials proclaim it a stride forward for the human rights of all.
Cutting the ribbon was opera diva Julia Migenes, with human rights leader Bashy Quraishy on the right and (from far left) Chris Brightmore, retired Scotland Yard Detective Chief Superintendent; Kurt Weiland, representing the Church of Scientology International; and Fabio Amicarelli, European Public Affairs Director (also addressing press conference, top, with Human Rights Director Martin Weightman).
These words by Rev. Kurt Weiland, a member of the board of directors of the Church of Scientology International, underscored a core belief underlying the establishment of the Church‘s new European Office for Public Affairs and Human Rights in the heart of Brussels, near the European Parliament and European Commission.
At the formal ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 17, 2003, attended by 500 representatives from governments, religions, human rights and community organisations, and the diplomatic corps, Rev. Weiland also released the “Proclamation on Religion, Human Rights and Society,” the Church‘s definitive statement on the role of religion in society, covering the importance of freedom of belief, freedom of expression, democracy, justice, church-and-state relations, freedom of information, a multi-cultural society, parents and children‘s rights, and other subjects.
Social Betterment Activities to Triple
Keynote speakers at the opening ceremony related their experiences with the Church‘s work in the fields of human rights and religious freedom.
Fabio Amicarelli, the newly appointed director of the Brussels office introduced them:
“In Europe, our Church currently sponsors 169 social betterment programmes. As part of our commitment to improving society, we pledge to triple the number in each one of the above categories within the next three years,” he said.
Rev. Weiland explained that the Church‘s decision to create a Brussels Human Rights office was motivated by a commitment to help create a social climate in which the rights and freedoms contained in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights can be realized.
The building houses the first permanent European exhibition on Scientology, covering three floors and consisting of 750 displays. It presents the worldwide social betterment programmes that are based on the developments of Scientology founder
The exhibition also describes the Church‘s human rights initiatives and explains the fundamentals of the religion. The exhibition is open to visitors daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with guided tours available. More information is available at www.scientology-europe.org.
UK Human Rights Activists Speak Up
J. L. Janssen Van Raay, 22-year veteran of the European and Dutch Parliament helped open the new Church of Scientology European Office for Public Affairs and Human Rights in Brussels.
Councillor W. Frank Godfrey, former mayor of Drogheda, Ireland, told Freedom, “To be on the door step of Europe here in Brussels, where the parliamentarians are making deliberations in the parliament, I think it‘s great.
“You should take a message with regards to the issues of drugs and human rights down to the parliament and get them involved,” he said.
Shaykh Rosser Owen, Amir of the Association of British Muslims, added, “We are entering a phase in the development of the European Communities that basically puts human rights into the front of the agenda — and their record so far has not been particularly inspiring. So, it‘s very necessary for everybody that the Church of Scientology has a new and very active, dynamic office located right next door, as it were, to the European Parliament.”
When asked to describe the impact of Scientology on society and the human condition, Professor Ian Hall, president of the Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace, stated, “Scientology brings to this world — and I started off a sceptic, like most orthodox people — a recognition and upholding of the truth about ourselves and others. Also it has begun to tackle some important social issues — drugs, for instance.
“Scientology holds within its grasp the key towards a better world, a world in which we begin to revalue and truly evaluate each other — as we Anglicans say — as an aspect of God. I think Scientology can do that.”
Human Rights Education Campaign
After the opening, guests, dignitaries and media flooded in to tour through the building‘s exhibition which presents the fundamentals of the Scientology religion and the Church‘s human rights initiatives and worldwide social betterment programmes based on the discoveries of humanitarian
Central to this campaign are tens of thousands of copies of “A Guidebook to Peace Through Human Rights,” containing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, which have been printed in multiple languages and will be distributed throughout Europe to raise awareness of human rights violations and protections.
Mr. Weightman stated that “for many years the Church of Scientology has fought for religious freedom and human rights for all people of all beliefs, and we will now broaden our human rights education and social betterment campaigns throughout Europe to bring freedom to even more people.”
To arrange for a personal or group tour of the new Church of Scientology International European Office for Public Affairs and Human Rights — or to participate in the new European “Peace Through Human Rights” education campaign — contact Human Rights Director Martin Weightman at 0032 2232 1596.
More information is available at www.scientology-europe.org.
“I am very proud to be here today to help welcome the Church of Scientology to its new offices, because I know no other group on Earth doing more effective work in combating the problem of drug abuse.”
— Chris Brightmore lecturer, Leicester University and former Detective Chief Superintendent, Scotland Yard
“Human beings should be judged by the strength of their character and not by the religion they practice or the colour they are born with... That will start in places like this, and with people like yourselves.”
— Bashy Quraishy president of the European Network Against Racism and chief editor of MediaWatch
“Freedom of belief is alive in Europe in great part thanks to the Scientologists. I extend my deepest gratitude to the Church and its members for all they have done for the people of Europe.”
— J.L. Janssen Van Raay 22-year veteran of the European and Dutch Parliaments