Youth for Human Rights International

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Youth for Human Rights
FounderMary Shuttleworth
Headquarters6331 Hollywood Blvd, Suite 720, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Parent organization
United for Human Rights
AffiliationsChurch of Scientology,

Youth for Human Rights is a program run by United for Human Rights, an American non-profit organization managed by Church of Scientology International.[1][2] Founded in 2001, its mission is "To teach youth around the globe about human rights, thus helping them to become valuable advocates for the promotion of tolerance and peace."[3]

The organization promotes Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's writings on human rights and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights by sponsoring essay and art contests and by providing materials for students and teaching guides for schools.[3][4]


Scientologist Mary Shuttleworth founded the program in August 2001 in coordination with the Church of Scientology International's Human Rights Office.[5] Originally incorporated under the name "Youth for Human Rights International" in California in 2005, the name was changed to "United for Human Rights" in 2009 while retaining the brand "Youth for Human Rights".[6] Websites for both United for Human Rights and Youth for Human Rights International list the same Taxpayer Identification Number, California corporation number, and business address.[7]

Their offices are located in Scientology's Guaranty Building in Hollywood, California.

Scientology's website claims that by 2004 it had established activities in more than 26 countries.[8]


YHRI's president and founder is Mary Shuttleworth (formerly Mary Untiedt), former president of YHRI's parent organization International Foundation for Human Rights and Tolerance. She also founded the Applied Scholastics schools "Shuttleworth Academy" and "Mary's Schoolhouse."[9][10] Shuttleworth holds an executive position at TXL Films,[11] the company that created the music video UNITED with YHRI.[12] She is a Scientologist.[13]

According to the Church of Scientology International, the executive director of YHRI is Tim Bowles,[14][15] former law partner of Bowles & Moxon, serving as general legal counsel for the Church of Scientology. Bowles also acts as an advisor to Scientology's Citizens Commission on Human Rights.[16]

Lynsey Bartilson, who appears on the television series Grounded for Life, is a prominent YHRI spokesperson. She was raised and remains a Scientologist, and her mother Laurie Bartilson was a former law partner at Moxon & Bartilson. In her online biography, she states that she worked as creative director and choreographer for the Scientology Celebrity Center's "Kids on Stage for A Better World."[17][18]


YHRI has teamed with TXL Films (founded by Taron Lexton, son of YHRI founder Mary Shuttleworth[19]) to create the award-winning music video, "UNITED."[12] In June 2006, they released 30 public service announcements for TV, illustrating each of the 30 rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,[20] which were created by the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International for YHRI.[21]

Activities and events[edit]

YHRI distributes materials related to its interpretation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and YHRI programs, to schoolchildren in a variety of developed nations, such as the United States,[22] Australia,[23] the United Kingdom[24] and the Czech Republic.[25] YHRI is also active in Germany.[26] In Belgium, it handed out a prize, and also held an awards ceremony in Bulgaria for the same prize.[27] YHRI awarded one prize to a Chinese actress, who promoted the group's views on her web site,[28] and another to a young Israeli Scientologist who screened the film, UNITED, and distributed YHRI materials in his school.[29][30] It held a conference in Zurich.[31] It discussed plans to lecture and distribute its materials to schoolchildren in Ghana and Liberia.[32][33][34][35] It advocated lower school fees in Uganda,[36] and held a peace rally in Nigeria.[37] In South Africa, Mary Shuttleworth's country of origin, it is pushing for a "human rights month."[38] The organization's work is supported by the actor and Scientologist Tom Cruise[39] and cooperates with human rights organizations, such as, allegedly, local chapters of Amnesty International.[40] According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, neither Amnesty in Berlin nor Amnesty International headquarters in London had knowledge of any such collaboration[41] and Amnesty International, as of March 2013, has been removed from the list of collaborators on the YHRI website.[42]

In 2005, Youth for Human Rights International organized a conference at a Los Angeles High School. Stephen Strachan, principal of Jordan High School, said that although he knew some of the organizers were Scientologists, he did not know of YHRI's relationship to the church until the Church of Scientology was listed on publicity materials as a co-sponsor. After learning of the connection, an agreement was negotiated to remove any mention of the Church of Scientology from literature, and letters were sent to parents saying students would need permission to attend the event.[43][44]

In 2007, YHRI led a pilot human rights course in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, at which it distributed L. Ron Hubbard's tract The Way to Happiness to students ranging from 12 to 17 years old, and taught them Scientology jargon like the tone scale, while trying to enroll them in Drug Free Marshals, a Scientology organization like Narconon. An official in the provincial government said he hoped to bring it to the province's 4.44 million children.[45]


In 2007, at a human rights youth forum organized by YHRI, in Sydney, Australia, three students from Canterbury Girls High School expressed concern at overt references to Scientology in the promotional materials. One said she felt "exploited." The Department of Education is looking into the students' complaints. However, David Clarke, a Liberal of the New South Wales upper house and a member of the Catholic group Opus Dei, said that he had also been unaware of any strong links between the youth forum and the Church of Scientology. But, Clarke added, "I'm a practising Catholic. There was no pushing as far as I could see of Scientology."[2]

A German journalist has accused Scientology of false advertising through YHRI, recruiting members indirectly, and government officials in Germany have said YHRI serves as a cover-up tactic for Scientology.[26][41]

The Florida Holocaust Museum complained that YHRI's connection to Scientology was not disclosed when they worked with them to organize a human rights march in St. Petersburg, Florida in March 2007.[46]

In each of the above cases the YHRI organizer responded that, while the Church of Scientology supported their group, it was a YHRI event, not a Church event and the message was human rights, not Scientology. However, the Herald reported that, on the materials handed out at the event in Australia, L.Ron Hubbard's image and quotes figured more prominently than those of such activists as Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.[2]

In 2009, Australia's Victoria government "told its schools not to distribute materials by a Scientology-funded group called Youth for Human Rights after it was revealed it organised a year 9 art prize."[47]

Ursula Caberta, the Commissioner for the Scientology Task Force of the Hamburg Interior Authority, a Scientology watchdog group, stated the YHRI is one of a number of Scientology-linked groups that mask their connection to the church and seek to attract and recruit the young.[26]

In 1995, the Hamburg Senate released a report on Scientology, describing its structure and the dangers it presented to individuals and society. One passage, citing Scientology documents, clarified the role of all organizations, which, like YHRI, are linked to the church.

In an internal memo, Scientology described the function of affiliate organizations: "All organizations and groups form a global network. Each one has its own individual role and responsibilities. But all service organizations have the goal to draw attention to L.Ron Hubbard's technology and deliver it to the public." Thus, each activity, however distantly it is related to Scientology, fits into a long-term strategic plan, which is ultimately steered by the highest management.[48]

Scientology, YHRI And Human Rights in Europe[edit]

According to the official Scientology website, YHRI is part of its overall campaign.[18] YHRI, known in German as "Jugend für Menschenrechte," is active in both Switzerland and Germany, organizing human rights conferences for youth to promote religious tolerance.[49][50] Referring to the campaign, Antje Blumenthal, a member of the German parliament, expressed concern that the good intentions of the young were being misused.[50]

The governments of France[51] and Germany[52][53] have investigated Scientology in regard to human rights violations, investigations the Scientology organization calls discriminatory.[54] It has responded with an opposing campaign through the Church of Scientology International European Office for Public Affairs and Human Rights, using public service announcements issued by YHRI,[55][inappropriate external link?] and created by the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Global Education : Advancing Universal Human Rights". Church of Scientology. Retrieved April 18, 2023. In its longstanding tradition of championing the cause of freedom for all, the Church of Scientology and its members seek remedies through sponsorship of one of the world's broadest human rights education and public information initiatives, United for Human Rights, and its program for young people, Youth for Human Rights.
  2. ^ a b c Patty, Anna (March 27, 2007). "Unwitting highschoolers lured to forum by Scientologists". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on March 29, 2007. Retrieved March 28, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "About Us". Youth for Human Rights. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  4. ^ "International Youth Movement Turns To 20th Century Humanitarians for Inspiration". Youth for Human Rights. Archived from the original on September 20, 2007.
  5. ^ "Youth Issues - Human Rights". Church of Scientology International. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  6. ^ "Business Search". Secretary of State of California. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Youth for Human Rights International". Church of Scientology. Archived from the original on May 8, 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  9. ^ "Meet the President". Youth for Human Rights. Archived from the original on October 2, 2007.
  10. ^ "Mary Untiedt - Education in Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard Study Technology". Church of Scientology International. Archived from the original on September 2, 2007.
  11. ^ "Mary Shuttleworth, Chairman of the Board". TXL Films, Inc. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009.
  12. ^ a b "Music video: United". TXL Films, Inc. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007.
  13. ^ "Scientology - Mary Untiedt a Scientologist - find out what I have gained from Scientology". Church of Scientology. Archived from the original on August 22, 2011.
  14. ^ International Youth Delegates Spark Human Rights Initiative at David Starr Jordan High School, Church of Scientology International, Human Rights News, October 7, 2005
  15. ^ Youth For Human Rights International - Ghana Human Rights Tour, Church of Scientology International, Human Rights News Forum, June 3, 2006
  16. ^ "Meet the Director : Tim Bowles". Youth for Human Rights. Archived from the original on March 7, 2007.
  17. ^ "Lynsey Bartilson Official Website". Archived from the original on October 13, 2005.
  18. ^ a b "Actions for Human Rights in Washington, D.C." Church of Scientology. Archived from the original on January 8, 2008.
  19. ^ Brown, Leslie (January 23, 2006). "Press release: Pepsi Honors Mother and Son as Everyday Freedom Heroes". TXL Films, Inc. – via PRWEB.
  20. ^ "The Public Service Announcements". Youth for Human Rights. Archived from the original on June 4, 2008.
  21. ^ a b "Human Rights Message Reaches 130,000 Viewers". Church of Scientology International. March 14, 2007.
  22. ^ Mueller, Michelle B. (September 15, 2006). "Hoech sixth-grader attended U.N. human rights meeting". St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri) – via Gale.
  23. ^ The Analyst, May 31, 2006, Title: YHRI Holds Aids Awareness in Paynesville,
  24. ^ Cornish Guardian, September 1, 2005, Title: Cornwall plays host to human rights festival
  25. ^ Czech News Agency CTK, December 9, 2006, Schedule of CTK general news in English, December 10,
  26. ^ a b c Klatt, Thomas (January 9, 2007). "Form des politischen Extremismus" [A form of political extremism]. Die Welt (in German). Retrieved April 17, 2007.
  27. ^ New Vision, June 14, 2006, Title: Mande Wins Rights Award
  28. ^ "Crusading for human rights". South China Morning Post. August 31, 2006 – via Gale.
  29. ^ Eglash, Ruth (June 22, 2006). "Haifa boy receives European Human Rights Award. Scientology-linked group rewards Scientologist's project". The Jerusalem Post.
  30. ^ Heruti-Sover, Tali (January 19, 2007). "Youth group supported by Scientology". Ynet. Retrieved October 14, 2008.
  31. ^ Hindustan Times, March 8, 2006, Title: Human rights is everyone's business
  32. ^ Public Agenda, May 29, 2006, Title: Human Rights Education Ventures to Be Established in Schools
  33. ^ Accra Mail (Ghana) - AAGM, November 6, 2006 Monday, Title: Inculcate human rights education into school curriculum
  34. ^ The Analyst, June 7, 2006, Title: Youth Activist Suggests Edu Rights Ventures,
  35. ^ Africa News, December 7, 2005, Title: Liberia; Take a Fresh Look At Liberia, Says Journalist, Activist
  36. ^ The Monitor, February 27, 2007, Title: Youth Want Govt to Abolish School Fees,
  37. ^ Africa News, March 21, 2007, Title: Human Rights Group Organises Peace Rally
  38. ^ BuaNews, February 7, 2007, Title: Youth Group Urges South Africans to Celebrate Human Rights Month,
  39. ^ Sunday Herald Sun, January 1, 2006, Title: Tom and Katie's gift of rights,
  40. ^ "YHRI Collaborators". Youth for Human Rights. Archived from the original on December 5, 2008.
  41. ^ a b Florentine Fritzen (August 28, 2006). "Das System Scientology" [The Scientology System] (in German). Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Archived from the original on March 4, 2008.
  42. ^ "YHRI Collaborators". Youth for Human Rights. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  43. ^ Rubin, Joel (October 1, 2005). "District Scrambles to Ensure Human Rights Event Is Religion-Free". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved October 19, 2008.
  44. ^ "Scientology group sponsors school event". UPI Newstrack. October 1, 2005. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007 – via Gale.
  45. ^ Tolsi, Niren (June 10, 2007). "Ndebele flirts with Scientology". Mail & Guardian. Archived from the original on January 17, 2008.
  46. ^ Laughlin, Meg; Farley, Rob (April 7, 2007). "Tie to rights march wasn't revealed : Some sponsors back out upon learning the Church of Scientology is the organizer". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved April 14, 2007.
  47. ^ Masanauskas, John (December 3, 2009). "Melbourne school linked to Scientology received $300,000 in federal stimulus money". Herald Sun. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  48. ^ "Mitteilung des Senats an die Biirgerschaft" [Senate report to the citizenry: Scientology] (PDF) (in German). The Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg. September 26, 1995. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 29, 2008. Retrieved May 18, 2007.
  49. ^ Sturzenegger, Martin (July 26, 2018). "Der verlängerte Arm der Scientology" [The extended arm of Scientology]. Tages-Anzeiger (in German). Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  50. ^ a b Stamm, Hugo. "Scientologen ködern junge Leute" [Scientologists lure young people] (in German). Tages-Anzeiger. Archived from the original on September 23, 2012. The young Scientologists are also active in Germany. This prompted Antje Blumenthal, member of the German Bundestag, to publish a press release. In it, the politician warns of "greatest caution". Scientology is "still in the sights of the constitutional protection officers". Blumenthal explains that the campaign initially appears to be extremely serious, but the goodwill of the young people is being misused. Similar calls from Swiss politicians are not known. However, it is known that Scientology employees have to work under conditions that are often not in line with our fundamental rights.
  51. ^ Fenech, Georges; Vuilque, Philippe (2006). "LA COMMISSION D'ENQUÊTE relative à l'influence des mouvements à caractère sectaire et aux conséquences de leurs pratiques sur la santé physique et mentale des mineurs" [Investigative commission on the influence of sects and the consequences of their practices on the mental and physical health of children] (PDF). National Assembly (France) (in French). Retrieved April 16, 2007.
  52. ^ "German Embassy statement on Scientology". Federal Foreign Office. Archived from the original on August 13, 2006. Retrieved August 13, 2006.
  53. ^ "Scientology : Gründe der Beobachtung" [Scientology : Reasons for observation]. State Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Baden-Wuerttemberg (in German). Archived from the original on February 9, 2008.
  54. ^ "Documenting and Exposing Government Discrimination". Church of Scientology International. Archived from the original on April 10, 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  55. ^ "Churches of Scientology for Europe - All Are Welcome!". Churches of Scientology for Europe. Retrieved February 19, 2021.

External links[edit]