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Church of Scientology participates in International Religious Freedom Summit with other international faith and human rights organizations

The summit, held in Washington, DC, promoted protecting religious freedom for everyone, everywhere, all the time.

Actress Marisol Nichols with artist Hannah Rose Thomas (R) and moderator Angela Redding, executive director of the Radiant Foundation (L) discussing culture and religious freedom

The world’s largest gathering of civil society promoting freedom of religion in all corners of the world gathered in Washington, DC, for the 2024 annual International Religious Freedom Summit (

Co-chaired by former Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, and President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights, Katrina Lantos Swett, the IRF Summit and its 72 partner organizations featured over 50 nationally and internationally known speakers focusing on current topics concerning violations, the vulnerable, voices that need to be heard, and victories of religious freedom around the world.

Among those addressing the over 1,000 attendees were Ambassador Rashad Hussain, current US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, former Vice President Mike Pence, Senator James Lankford (R-OK);, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL); Dr. Michael Jenkins, president, Universal Peace Foundation; Jan Figel, International Religious Freedom and Belief Alliance - International Council of Experts (EU); Frederick Davie, US Commission on International Religious Freedom; Marisol Nichols, actor, and Hannah Rose Thomas, artist.

The two-day conference also featured over 30 booths by faith and human rights organizations including the Uyghur Human Rights Foundation, Baha’is US, All Dulles Muslim Center, Church of Scientology National Affairs Office, Freedom House, Religious Action Center, and American Atheists.

The IRF Summit's purpose is, "Creating a powerful coalition of organizations that operate together for the cause of religious freedom around the world. Increasing the public awareness and political strength for the international religious freedom movement."

Advancing human rights has long since been a significant aim of the Church of Scientology through its unrelenting support and implementation of several global humanitarian programs including United for Human Rights and Youth for Human Rights International. According to the church, "The aims of these nonprofit, nonreligious organizations are twofold: Teach young people their inalienable rights, thus significantly increasing awareness in a single generation; and petition governments to implement and enforce the provisions of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world’s preeminent human rights document, and mandate human rights education in schools."

The Creed of Scientology, written by L. Ron Hubbard in 1954, enumerates amongst other beliefs, "That all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices and their performance." Furthermore, Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

Reverend Susan Taylor of the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office in Washington, DC, said, "Protecting religious freedom starts with education and raising awareness. That's why gatherings like this summit are so vital. Those attending are committing to work with others to advocate for and protect religious freedom for everyone, everywhere, all the time. Through international gatherings such as this, the reach can go far and wide."

Actress Marisol Nichols spoke on a panel about Religious Freedom and Culture. She explained how she first became interested in human rights when she narrated a short film produced by the Church of Scientology called “The Story of Human Rights,” which lays out the chronological history and basic fundamentals of human rights in simple terms for anyone to easily understand. Speaking on the panel, Ms. Nichols told about her experience playing a Muslim woman on Fox television’s “24”. Ms. Nichols said, “America is made up of all different faiths, all different cultures. It really made me think that we need more showing of what America actually is, or even internationally, when you watch a show in England, it’s full of all different faiths, all different backgrounds and colors of skin and it’s more accurate of what the world really, truly is. I think we have more responsibility to show [different faiths and cultures] in a better light and to support it.”

Additional panels throughout the summit conference addressed specific religious freedom violations or areas of trouble as well as a youth track highlighting positive strides being made by young people to bring about better understanding and acceptance of faith issues.

For the entire week before the IRF Summit, a strong multifaith coalition comprised of lead faith advocates hit the Hill together and met with numerous congressional offices, inviting them to come to the IRF Summit and support the key global issues that faith communities unite efforts around, such as calling for the global release of prisoners of conscience. Led by Anna Sineva from the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office in Washington DC, the multifaith coalition engaged over 80 congressional offices on IRF issues during the IRF Summit week.  

 Works cited




About the company: The Church of Scientology National Affairs Office in Washington, DC, works with many organizations to improve human rights, criminal justice, and religious freedom internationally.

Contact Info:
Name: Sylvia Stanard
Email: Send Email
Organization: Church of Scientology National Affairs Office
Address: 1701 20th St NW Washington, DC 20009

Release ID: 89120619

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