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22 February 2008

The Scientologist understanding of human rights

In his final blog post, Scientologist Kenneth Eckersley outlines his view of human rights

By Kenneth Eckersley

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) defines the international community’s minimum standards for human rights and fundamental freedoms stemming from the concept that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

The Church of Scientology embraces the goal of the UDHR and is fully committed to help create a societal climate in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration can be realized. I myself am fully in support of this position, and I would like to use this final article to describe a small snapshot of some of the human rights work carried out by the Church and individual Scientologists over the decades.

Exposing Mind Control

In the mid-20th century, in the depths of the cold war era, covert government programmes were developed to manipulate men’s minds through use of special drugs and coercive psychiatric treatment. Among the first to discover, publicly expose and decry this practice was L Ron Hubbard in his 1951 book: Science of Survival. Mr Hubbard described the combined use of pain, drugs and hypnosis as a behavioural modification of the worst kind. Scientologists used the Freedom of Information Act to expose the details of their experiments in thousands of newspaper articles and the Church’s own award-winning Freedom Magazine.

The U.S. Congress confirmed the facts exposed. In his 1978 book: Operation Mind Control, Walter Bowart credited Mr Hubbard with exposing what Bowart called “a vast iceberg of mind control research using drugs as an aid to hypnotic induction.”

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Those responsible for such abuses retaliated with a massive smear campaign against Mr Hubbard and Scientology that has lasted for several decades.

Outlawing the Infliction of Brain Damage and Memory Loss

Undeterred, the Church of Scientology forced the “iceberg” into full view. In 1969, the Church founded the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) in London to eradicate human rights abuses and barbaric treatments such as ECT perpetrated by psychiatrists against unwitting victims, most frequently elderly women. CCHR was commended for its effectiveness in a 1986 report to the United Nations Human Rights Commission by a UN Special Rapporteur and human rights laureate (1993). This report concluded, “CCHR has been responsible for many great reforms. At least 30 bills [now more than 100] throughout the world – which would otherwise have inhibited even more the rights of patients or would have given psychiatry the power to commit minority groups and individuals against their will – have been defeated by CCHR actions.”

Protecting the Rights of Children

Scientologists have been very vocal against the psychiatric drugging of children. Millions of children, labelled with ‘attention deficit hyperactivity disorder’, have been put on dangerous drugs now known to cause suicide and violent behaviour. CCHR forced their hand and the psychiatric industry has now admitted there is in fact no clinical evidence to support the existence of ADHD. In the past three years, over 80 government warnings were issued internationally on the previously undisclosed dangers of psychiatric drugs. It is now common knowledge that the mass killings in American schools are uniformly carried out by youth on prescribed mind-altering psychiatric drugs who did not engage in violence prior to such drugging. CCHRs around the world were the first to bring this to light.

Taking a stance against such abuses is not popular in all quarters but is a vital endeavour that I will continue to give my full support.

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