A Celebration of Diversity at the Church of Scientology Melbourne
The Church of Scientology Melbourne hosted a Human Rights Day interfaith program to mark the 68th anniversary of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Men and women of more than 16 different faiths and cultures paid tribute to the multicultural mosaic of Melbourne at the interfaith celebration of Human Rights Day at the Church of Scientology.
The event was a joint project of more than a dozen groups and organizations including the Melton Interfaith Network, Casey Multifaith Network, WIN (Women’s Interfaith Network) Foundation, COMMON (Centre of Melbourne Multifaith and Others Network), Women of Wyndham, Ramon Helps Inc., Radio Haanji, MeTV, Bakkalcha TV Australia, Pakistan Youth Association, Tuluga Women’s Association, Australian Multicultural Organisation, Landmark Community Sports Club, South Asia Community Link Group, Lavender Foundation, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Victoria.
One of the most diverse cities in the world, Melbourne is home to people speaking more than 250 languages and an indigenous culture dating back at least 50,000 years. Those attending the Human Rights Day event reflected this diversity.
There were Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews and Scientologists. They came from Burma, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia and Australia.
Master of ceremonies, Dr. Sonia Singh, of Ramon Helps Inc., introduced religious leaders, who spoke of the importance of tolerance and working together to secure the most basic and important of all human rights—freedom of religion and belief.
Guests were briefed on a human rights project to empower the youth of Timor-Leste with a basic understanding of their rights. In that country, devastated by 24 years of violent conflict, some 200,000 East Timorese, one third of the population, died from military action, starvation and disease between 1975 and 1999. The country achieved independence in 2002 and some 41 percent of the population is under the age of 15, a full 61 percent under 25.
Through the support of the Church of Scientology, the entire curriculum of Youth for Human Rights was translated and produced in the native language, Tetum, and implemented throughout the country.
At a human rights summit last summer at the U.N. in New York, a Youth for Human Rights volunteer from Timor-Leste described the impact of this program: “Gangs in Timor were responsible for over 200 deaths each year. Now many of the over 300,000 young people who have received human rights education are young people who used to be part of these school gangs. These days, those school gangs have changed from being a problem to becoming human rights defenders because of the help of the human rights education program and the volunteers of our team.”
London, England-based Melbourne native, composer Warren Wills, is dedicated to interfaith cooperation and the human rights of indigenous populations and believes music is a way to transcend borders. He performed a medley of Christmas carols and a musical farewell tribute to David Bowie and Leonard Cohen who passed away this year.
The Church of Scientology Melbourne is an Ideal Scientology Organization (Org). It’s facilities were configured to serve its parishioners in their ascent to spiritual freedom and serve as a resource for the entire community.