Church of Scientology International Global Human Rights Awareness Campaign
November 14, 2005
Stepping up its global campaign to raise public awareness of human rights, the Church of Scientology Internationalís Human Rights Department in association with Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) has released three new public service announcements portraying articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The edgy 30 and 60-second visual stories, all featuring youth, represent a new standard in human rights education through their use of imagery and music that both young people and adults can instantly identify with.
The PSAs, part of the Churchís "Making Human Rights a Global Reality" campaign, depict three of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Donít Discriminate", "Freedom of Thought" and "Freedom of Expression". Subtitled in 15 languages, the PSAs will soon begin airing around the world, flanked by advertisements, posters and flyers promoting the same human rights articles.
The PSAs use similar concepts to YHRIís theme song UNITED, a street-savvy emotionally impacting 5-minute human rights music video that has captured audiences young and old from the United States to Hungary and Russia. UNITED was filmed and directed by talented filmmaker, 20-year-old Taron Lexton, who also directed the PSAs. Since its release at United Nations headquarters in New York a year ago, UNITED has won six national and international film festival awards including the prestigious New York Independent International Grand Jury award for best Short Film. The music video conveys the power of human rights awareness to curb violent confrontation and intolerance. More than 150 actors and 2,000 volunteers from 13 countries donated their talents to the project. Television stations, cinema networks, film festivals, human rights groups and community leaders have now screened UNITED to more than 40 million people.
"We are quite sure that this new series of PSAs will have the same effect. They are wonderful teaching tools and right now production is underway to create similar stories for the remaining 27 articles of the Universal Declaration", said Leisa Goodman, the Human Rights Director for the Church of Scientology International.
The Church and YHRI have also released a new tool for human rights education awareness -- the UNITED Human Rights Educational Handbook. The Handbook was developed to provide educators and community leaders with a practical means of teaching human rights to the young. It has been found that the Handbookís lesson plans, when taught to schoolchildren, can result in less class bullying and better relationships between young people.
Founded in 2001, YHRI often partners with the Church in organizing essay-contests, art presentations, concerts and youth summits to raise human rights awareness among the young. YHRI members also publish Youth for Human Rights International News, which is syndicated by a chain of UK newspapers and is available on YHRIís website at www.youthforhumanrights.org
In a few years, YHRI has grown to more than 70 groups active in dozens of countries. Many human rights advocates, legislators, teachers, police and humanitarians work closely with YHRI, encouraging young people to learn about, appreciate and champion the cause of human rights.