Economic and Social Council


				20 January 1994

				Original:  CHINESE/ENGLISH
Fiftieth session
Item 20 of the provisional agenda


Report submitted by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 1993/25

This is an excerpt of the full report. It contains only the chapter that deals with Germany.


29. In a communication dated 14 October 1993, addressed to the Government of Germany, the Special Rapporteur transmitted the following information:

"According to the information received, the Church of Scientology was discriminated against in several ways in Germany between 1990 and 1992.

The discrimination in question is said to have affected both the professional and private lives of members of the Church of Scientology. Reportedly, several persons were dismissed from their jobs in private companies in Ulm, Kiel, Hannover and Schwabhausen because of their membership in the Church of Scientology; other people were asked to give up functions on advisory boards, lost customers in their businesses, or credits in their banks, once their membership in the above Church was known; some members also experienced difficulties for renting halls in hotels for conferences related to the Church of Scientology. Many other members of the Church of Scientology have been the victims of defamation, insults, attacks on property, bomb scares and even death threats. In particular, the Special Rapporteur has also been informed of the following incidents:

On 20 December 1990 the car of a church member living in Rendsburg was splashed with red paint while he was giving a lecture on scientology. The damage reportedly amounted to DM 1,000.

During the summer of 1991 the premises of the Church of Scientology Information Centre in the Eppendorf district of Hamburg were ransacked by persons unknown. Windows, books, video recorders and a computer, of a total value of DM 25,000, were destroyed.

On 2 October 1991 an individual wearing a military uniform entered the premises of the Church of Scientology in Hamburg and attacked the receptionist, who had to be treated in hospital for an eye injury. Another staff member who had come to the aid of this colleague was struck in the face and sustained a broken nose.

On the evening of 31 December 1991 several youths coming from a Protestant community centre went to the Church of Scientology headquarters and threw firecrackers into the entrance hall. When a member of the Church came out to see what was happening, he received a head injury. A friend who had come to his aid had his arm broken and was kicked in the head while lying on the ground. The cars parked in front of the church were damaged and stones were thrown through the building's windows.

On 22 February 1992 the Vice-President of the Church of Scientology of Hamburg was visited by a person who said that he had heard of plans to have him (the Vice-President) murdered by a professional killer who was to come from Italy. The visitor added that he would be able to supply the name and details of the killer For the sum of DM 3.000 and asked for an advance payment of that amount. However, when the Vice-President informed the police, the visitor suddenly disappeared.

On 5 February 1993, during a televised interview in Bremen with the spokesman of the Church of Scientology in Hamburg, someone rang up the station to say that the spokesman would be murdered after the interview. At the end of the programme the spokesman had to be escorted to his hotel by the criminal police.

The Church of Scientology is also said to he the victim of defamation in public places and universities and during election campaigns. According to the information received, a number of these acts have been initiated by 'experts on sects' opposed to the Church of Scientology.

Political parties such as the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) are said to have repeatedly adopted resolutions (some at the parliamentary level) aimed at securing the banning of the Church of Scientology. In March 1991, on the basis of a questionnaire published by the SPD, the municipal council of Hamburg voted, at the request of the CDU, in favour of an economic boycott of the Church of Scientology."

30. On 21 December 1993, the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations Office at Geneva transmitted to the Special Rapporteur the following information in reply to the above-mentioned allegation:

"Due to the federal structure of Germany various instances on the level of the Laender had to be involved, which delayed the information-gathering process. we apologize for this inconvenience. In order to speed up the transmission of the observations of the Federal Republic of Germany, only a fared copy of the English translation is submitted.

The Federal Government's observation in essence points out that the so-called Scientology Church is a youth sect which uses religious connotations in order to cover a business strategy ruining many of its members. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany hopes that the attached observations answer the questions put forward by the Special Rapporteur and remains at the Special Rapporteur's disposal for any further information.

The Permanent Mission of Germany avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (Centre for Human Rights) the assurances of its highest consideration.

Observations by the Federal Republic of Germany on the accusation of discrimination against members of the Church of Scientology in the Federal Republic of Germany

I. The doctrine of the Scientology organization

The doctrine of scientology was developed by the American Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1913-1986). In the thirties, Hubbard worked as a writer of science fiction, and in 1950 he published the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, in which he set out the rudiments of his ideas. These subsequently evolved into 'scientology'. The term 'dianetics' is meant to signify something like 'healing through reason'.

The basic premise of scientology is that the world is condemned to absolute ruin and that Hubbard discovered the only way to save it. Scientologists believe that mankind lives in a 'MEST' universe (a hybrid term and acronym of 'matter, energy, space, time'). He is said to consist of body, mind and the immortal thetan, a type of soul-spirit. The body is merely a shell inhabited by the thetan and discarded by it after death. In the view of the Scientology organization, the mind is a tool of the thetan. It is divided into the positive 'analytic mind' and the negative 'reactive mind'. The analytic mind contains all the information, experiences and data collected by an individual. The function of the reactive mind is to take charge during periods of unconsciousness and to collect the perceptions of the unconscious mind. These are stored as so-called engrams and are no longer accessible to the analytic mind. According to Scientologists, engrams are the root of all human failings not ascribable to physical causes, and particularly of all psychosomatic illnesses, neuroses and psychoses. Negative engrams are supposed to be eliminated by means of repeated questioning sessions ('auditing') with the aid of an electronic measuring device; a so-called 'E-meter', which works rather like a lie detector. By this method the individual is supposed first to achieve a 'clear' state and thereafter to attain 'total freedom'. The objective is to 'clear the planet' or in other words to establish the mastery of the organization over the entire earth.

II. The strategy for propagating Scientology and gaining acceptance for its ideas

The programme of the Scientology organization, the 'bridge to total freedom', contains a range of step-by-step courses and training sessions. Every Scientologist should undergo these if possible. Each course of therapy begins with a personality test (the 'Oxford capacity analysis'). It is the organization's practice to confront examinees with alleged personality weaknesses. Others are told that they could be capable of great things if they were to realize their innate potential through Scientological training. At the heart of the organization's programme is the practice of 'auditing'. With the aid of repeated questioning, the auditor and the member are supposed to identify the obstacles on the latter's path to a 'clear' state and, having thus become aware of these obstacles, to remove them. One of the organization's flagship courses is the so-called communication course during which trainees receive instruction in the techniques of 'confirmation' and 'confrontation'. Finally, the so-called cleansing run-down is intended to make Scientologists immune to nuclear radiation. It consists of spending extremely lengthy periods in a sauna, a course of large doses of vitamins, taking minerals and edible oil as food supplements and a programme of physical exercise.

In order to market these courses and other services, thereby propagating the 'bridge to total freedom', the Scientology organization has set up numerous branches, covert movements and groups. It sees itself as a service enterprise, selling materials and services aimed at 'liberating' the customer. The Bulletin of International Management, No. 7 of 2 February 1983, puts it this way:

'The only reason for the existence of Orgs [= Organizational] is to sell and supply materials and services to the public and to recruit members of the public to whom these can be sold and supplied. The aim is totally liberated customers.
The Bulletin goes on to state:
'Any idea that an Org exists for any reason other than to sell and supply materials and services to (...) the public has to be dismissed.'
The organization's services are offered at high and constantly rising prices. Average earners cannot follow the 'bridge to total freedom' programme unless they considerably restrict their standard of living. where several members of the same family are Scientologists, the cost of courses and training can threaten the family's livelihood.

At the same time, the organization involves members in its business activities. They are used as recruiters and sellers. If they sign up a new customer, they can expect discounts making it easier for them to attend future courses and training.

To achieve the aim of 'clearing the Planet', members are also meant to occupy key social, economic and political positions. Attempts to gain influence in these areas are manifold. For instance, the organization has founded its own companies to sell and market Scientology. It also works indirectly through various related organizations and through supportive members. In the consultative sphere, the organization offers 'therapeutic' facilities, such as the drug programme 'Narconon' and a free 'personality test'. The questionnaire associated with the latter comprises 200 questions and is distributed free of charge to passers-by or directly as a circular. A study has revealed that this test always produces negative findings about the respondent; according to the study, it has no scientific merit and serves only to recruit customers for the Scientology package of courses.

Companies are offered a broadly identical personality test for recruitment purposes. Responses are assessed by a company by the name of U-Man, which has links with the Scientology organization. Moreover, consultancy firms offer management and business counselling services geared towards the organization's rationale.

The German Government is aware that members of the organization have already managed to take over and restructure some companies. An indication of their dependence on the Scientology organization is membership of 'WISE' , the World Institute of Scientology and Enterprises. In Germany, over 70 companies are said to be members already.

In its management directive ED 1040, the Scientology organization gives advice along the following lines:

  1. Find yourself a business that is already working very well.
  2. Approach the most senior Director. Offer to ensure that his business will bring in more money for him.
  3. Identify SPs (suppressive persons) in the organization and throw them out.
  4. Audit the key employees and show them what it's all about; that will set the process in motion. They will persuade junior management and the rest of the staff to undergo auditing too.
(Source Haack/Gandow: Scientology, Dianetik und andere Hubbardismen [Scientology, Dianetics and other Hubbardismsl, p. 48.)

Critics and former members of the Scientology organization are likely targets for threatening letters, insults and false suspicions. In some cases, events organized by action groups formed to protest against the organization's activities have apparently been disrupted and property damaged.

III. Legal status of the Scientology organization in the Federal Republic of Germany

The Federal Government considers the Scientology organization to be a youth sect. Because of the dangers they can pose to the personal development and social relations of young people, the authorities, and indeed the public at large, have kept a particularly watchful eye on them for many years.

Critics of the organization take the view-that its programme, the 'bridge to total freedom', is in fact a cover for a business strategy characterized by an unbridled sales drive combined with a ruthless will to prevail. The individual, they say, is isolated from his environment; alternative lifestyles are systematically eliminated until he is ultimately devoted to Scientology and achieving new levels of liberation. The organization's courses (such as 'auditing', the communication course and the 'cleansing run-down') are considered pseudo-scientific processes that seriously jeopardize mental and physical health. For a good few people, membership of the organization leads to financial ruin.

The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, dated 23 May 1949, states that 'Everyone shall have the right to the free development of his personality in so far as he does not violate the rights of others or offend against the constitutional order or against morality' (art. 2, para. 1, of the Basic Law);'Everyone shall have the right to life and physical integrity' (first sentence of art. 2, para. 2); and 'Everyone shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinion in speech, writing and pictures' (first sentence of art. 5, para. 1). According to the first sentence of article 5, paragraph 3, of the Basic Law, 'Art and science, research and teaching shall be free'. Lastly, article 3 contains a general ban on discrimination; its paragraph 3 enshrines a constitutional imperative that 'No one may be disadvantaged or favoured because of his (...) faith, or his religious or political opinions'.

Moreover, article 4 sets out that:

'(1) Freedom of faith, of conscience and freedom to profess a religion or a particular philosophy (Weltanschauung) shall be inviolable;

(2) The undisturbed practice of religion shall be guaranteed.'

The courts have never ruled definitively on whether the Scientology organization is a religious or ideological community, such as would be eligible for special protection under article 4 of the Basic Law.

According to decisions taken by the Federal Constitutional Court, this does not depend solely on how an organization perceives itself. Instead, the decisive factor is whether its spiritual heritage or outward manifestations demonstrate that it is in fact such a community. The Court has held that it is of no importance whether the community engages in a level of economic activity which overshadows the communal practice of religion or ideology. Its religious and ideological doctrines must not, however, merely serve as a pretext for the pursuit of economic objectives.

Nor are the freedoms guaranteed under article 4 boundless. Freedom of faith and of religious or ideological creed, as well as freedom to practise religion undisturbed, reach their limits when the exercise of these basic rights by an entitled person comes into conflict with the fundamental rights of people of other persuasions. Such rights could conceivably be those to human dignity and personal liberty defined in articles 1 and 2. Also, religious and ideological communities must observe the general laws that apply to everyone, such as the penal statutes.

For its part, the State is required to protect the individual member or his organization from verbal, physical or other attacks on his body, his life, his property, his honour or his general personal rights.

That applies irrespective of whether an organization is recognized as an ideological or religious community within the meaning of article 4 of the Basic Law.

In this conflict between the rights of the organization and its members and the duty of the State to afford protection to all its citizens, the Federal Government participates in the essential intellectual and political examination of the problems surrounding so-called youth sects and psyche-groups by promoting public awareness. By reason of the neutrality imposed on it by the Basic Law, the state is required to exercise restraint and practise objectivity in these matters. According to decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court, however, the State is entitled not only to communicate facts, but also to express value judgments of its own based on those facts. And if the statutory rights of its citizens are threatened, it may even issue warnings.

The Federal Government knows that members of the Scientology organization are subject to tensions in their professional and private lives as a result of membership. The methods employed by the organization to recruit new members and to try and achieve the 'clearing of the planet' are known to the general public in the Federal. Republic of Germany. Intensive coverage by the media has meant that knowledge of the financial burden on the individual and the danger of personality changes is as widespread as the perception of the organization as a purely profit-oriented enterprise that enslaves and manipulates its members for this purpose.

The Federal Government is not aware whether membership alone of the Scientology organization has caused members to lose their jobs or business customers or to be refused credit from their banks or the use of hotel conference rooms for meetings of the organization. In any event the principle of private autonomy applies in the Federal Republic of Germany; the individual citizen enjoys the fundamental freedom to conclude contracts at will. He may terminate an existing contract subject to the general legal conditions. Political parties, too, are free to select their own members. Anyone who considers a measure directed against him to be discriminatory can refer the matter to the domestic courts. According to the legal nature of the matter in question, the complaint will he dealt with by the labour courts, the administrative courts or the courts of ordinary jurisdiction. Anyone who suspects a criminal offence to have been committed may approach the police or the Public Prosecution Office. The Federal Government has no knowledge which would suggest that many members of the Scientology organization have been victims of defamation, insults, attacks on property, bomb scares or even death threats. In the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, where the vast majority of the instances of verbal or physical attack on members of the organization listed in the Special Rapporteur's summary allegedly took place, the incidents - as far as could be ascertained in the short time available to the national authorities - were not recorded in the files of either the interior or justice authorities. Only the incidents of 5 September 1991 and 22 February 1992 had been reported to the competent government agencies. The identity of the offenders could not be established, and so proceedings were discontinued.

The effects which membership of the Scientology organization often have for the psyche and the entire living environment of individual members are also a source of great anxiety for State agencies. It is against this background that the request addressed by the City State Parliament of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg to the Senate in March 1992 should be viewed. It read as follows:

'The Senate is requested,

  1. Not to rent out public buildings to the Church of Scientology or related companies;
  2. Not to conclude property deals with them and, in the case of real-estate sales, to exercise existing purchase tights wherever there is a risk of the Church of Scientology or related or associated companies acting as purchasers;
  3. To examine whether, in State-controlled real-estate and property transactions, influence can be brought to bear to ensure that no dealings with the Church of Scientology or related companies are
  4. To examine how far it is legally admissible not to conclude public contracts with the Church of Scientology or related companies.
A definitive assessment of the request in terms of the law and the Senate's decision on it are still being awaited.

It should, however, be noted that in the Federal Republic of Germany, even actions of the State can be made the subject of a full judicial review.

A statement on the accusation of discrimination against the Scientology organization and its members in the Federal Republic of Germany, which is to be forwarded to the Sub-Commission of the Commission on Human Rights in the proceedings according to resolution l503 (XLVIII) of the Economic and Social Council, is at present in preparation. It is intended to submit the statement in Geneva by the end of March 1994."