Two court blows on authorities from Germany in just the last 6 months involving sect filters

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NGOs request the UN Human Rights Council to investigate Germany for violating freedom of belief.

Scientology is a growing religion carrying out indispensable programs to fight against drug usage, human rights violations, while teaching techniques for learning effective solutions to deal with life”
— Iván Arjona-Pelado

BRUSSELS, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, August 18, 2021 / -- Two NGOs with Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, have requested in a written statement for the upcoming 48th Session of the Human Rights Council, to assist Germany stop using the so called “sect-filter” and come to their senses on respecting the freedom of religion or belief of members of the Church of Scientology.

Since over 50 years, German citizens who have freely chosen to abide by the teachings of Scientology, the religion founded by humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard, have faced and countered uncountable instances of discrimination. These, were perpetrated by state officials at local, state and federal level, while the courts have repeatedly granted the Scientologists the right to adhere to the protection of Article 4 of the German Basic Law.

Two important courts in Germany have hit the authorities.

In March 2021, the German High Court in Baden-Württemberg (file no. VGH 8 S 1886/20) in the case of another Scientologist, confirmed that Scientology and Scientologists are not violating the laws of the country, and therefore gave a victory to an electrical engineer who was being discriminated and being obstructed from his job just because of being a Scientologist. In that case the state government had issued an order that was impeding the Scientologist to access security areas of German airports just because of his religion and was therefore banning him from his job, thing that the State Administrative Appeal Court remedied by cancelling the government order.

In an article published at the time in the European specialized newspaper NEWEUROPE, it said that: “The judgement in the first instance before the Administrative Court of Stuttgart found that he was unfairly dismissed. The State appealed the decision before the Administrative Court of Appeal of Baden Wurttemberg which, in a decision rendered the 4th of March 2021, consequently dismissed the appeal finding that there was no wrongdoing “neither by the plaintiff himself nor for the Scientology Organization” and that Scientology membership does not forward anti-constitutional endeavours. Hats off to the German courts, but shame on the state agencies that brought this about. Were this an isolated incident it could, perhaps, be put down to some momentary loss of focus, but it is not. For more than 20 years, Scientology has been the target of state agencies.”

Referring to the “sect-filters”, Willy Fautre, Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers reported: “In Bavaria and a few other German Länder, the authorities use what they call “sect filters” when someone applies for a public job, a public service contract or a government bid. These “sect filters” contain questions exclusively targeting the possible affiliation or relationship of the candidate with Scientology. If so, the candidate is disqualified. If the applicant refuses to fill in the questionnaire, they are also disqualified. ‘This is not only intrusive and discriminatory, but this gravely violates the international human rights standards and stigmatizes the followers of Ron Hubbard’s teachings as sub-citizens,’ one of the NGOs said. The teachings of Scientology are not banned in Germany and spreading them is not a criminal activity. Therefore, their followers should not be treated differently from the followers of the Bible, the Coran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Buddhist or any other teachings.”

Then there has been a second blow to the discriminatory practice of German authorities, who under the disguise of Protecting the Constitution, spend their resources and time in harassing by the effect of their actions, peaceful and contributing citizens that perform indispensable activities that are supported by the Church of Scientology.

This ruling was published beginning of August 2021, and the Bavarian Administrative Court of Appeal condemned the city of Munich for their practice with unmistakable words as an unjustified interference in the religious freedom guarantee of Art. 4 of the German Constitution and as a violation of Art. 3 of the Constitution which prohibits unequal treatment before the law. The court stated: “The exclusion of applicants, who feel bound by the Scientology teachings, from the circle of recipients of grants [for an E-Bike] also constitutes a violation of fundamental rights in a multiple way. It is incompatible with the freedom of religion or philosophy and does not satisfy the equal rights requirements of the Constitution.”

Ivan Arjona, President of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights, said that “Scientology is a growing religion that carries out indispensable programs to fight against drug usage, human rights violations, while teaching workable techniques indispensable for learning effective solutions for dealing with life in this troubled world” and he added “Germany, instead of violating the dignity and rights of its citizens, should support the endeavors of making a better society, and also recognize Scientology as it is already being done by the governments of Spain, Portugal, Italy, United Kingdon, United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Colombia, and even the European Court of Human Rights”.

Ivan Arjona
European Office of the Church of Scientology
+32 2 533 28 00
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