Scientology Presentation to Working Session 9 at the OSCE – ODIHR Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of 2017

Warsaw, Poland • Oral presentation at the OSCE - ODIHR Meeting of 2017, Working session 9—discussions concerning tolerance and nondiscrimination. From the Church of Scientology Human Rights and Public Affairs Office, Mr. Ivan Arjona presented an oral statement on the urgent need to take action on the Russian Federation for its violation of international human rights covenants and its refusal to abide by decisions of the EU Court of Human Rights.

Ivan Arjona, Executive Director, Church of Scientology European Office of Public Affairs and Human Rights

I call upon OSCE and participant states to facilitate dialogue between the Church of Scientology and the Russian Federation to end the religious freedom crisis and avoid further discrimination against children in the educational system.

Education in human rights and respect is important to stop discrimination and intolerance, and it is also important to increase the well-being of citizens within the OSCE region and worldwide—education not only of our children but education of the officials in our governments.

When you persecute religious movements, traditional and nontraditional, you definitely create a problem in the school systems, in which children of parents belonging to the persecuted religions will be discriminated against and are vulnerable to hate crimes within their own school and by their own schoolmates.

I insist that we have to educate not only children, but also and specifically government officials, on nondiscrimination and respect for differences, and that they need to respect the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights as well as international human rights treaties.

Scientology is an increasingly recognized religion around the world and also in Europe. I speak in representation of millions of Scientologists and in the name of their children in over 169 countries, but particularly for those from the 57 Member States of the OSCE region.

Specifically, within the Russian Federation, we Scientologists as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses, other Christian movements and the so-called nontraditional religions, are living an era in which specific officials within the Russian Federation are misusing the constitution and security apparatus to do a witch hunt on minorities. These become defenseless before officials who will not even respect the legal decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

The OSCE has within its mandate, as in fact does every represented Member State, the mission to facilitate dialogue between parties in crisis. There is a religious freedom crisis in the Russian Federation, and we respectfully request the OSCE Chairmanship and the ODIHR to facilitate dialogue between the Russian Federation and the Church of Scientology and other nontraditional movements so that officials and the church can work together for proper education of the discriminating officials concerning religious freedom, respect for the laws of the country and international treaties, and acceptance and respect for the nontraditional religions, especially those whose rights have already been recognized by the European Court of Human Rights.

I ask you to please not stay silent. Do not allow discrimination to happen out of fear of the power of the oppressors of religious freedom.

Yesterday the Jehovah’s Witnesses were being banned; today we are being persecuted. If you don’t stand up, you will have the responsibility of not having moved to avoid religious persecution and discrimination. And who knows whether tomorrow you will be the one persecuted for your ideas and in need of others to stand for you. But those who could speak have all been silenced, banned and suppressed. There will be nobody to stand for you.

Please, for God’s sake, help without fear to facilitate dialogue; don’t allow innocent people to be retained in jail as is happening.

Please do not discriminate. Help us protect our children from the discrimination. They are suffering due to the intolerant persecution of their parents’ beliefs. Please stand up.

freedom of religion or belief ODIHR OSCE religious intolerance Warsaw Church of Scientology European Office of Public Affairs and Human Rights Ivan Arojna