The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, is arguably one of the most powerful tools for peace ever bestowed on mankind. Created at the end of World War II, it was conceived at a crucial moment when member UN governments sensed their vulnerability in the face of an uncertain future. Behind them was one of the most gruesome displays of intolerance in history and ahead was an even more daunting threat of thermonuclear obliteration.
Twenty-one years later, L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Scientology religion, referred to this document in a 1969 essay: “The United Nations came up with the answer. An absence of human rights stained the hands of governments and threatened their rules.” He urged all governments to comply with — and advance — the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, because, as he put it, “their very survival depends utterly upon adopting such reforms and thus giving their peoples a cause, a civilization worth supporting, worth their patriotism.”