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Disenfranchising Scientologists

In June of 1995, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) modified the reasons underlying its October 1992 decision to expel and exclude Scientologists from the FDP.84 The June 1995 Resolution orders all FDP divisions not to admit Scientologists as members and to demand that Scientologists who are members either leave the FDP or Scientology. Mrs. Luise Berrang, a Scientologist who is also a member of FDP, has been expelled from the FDP due to her association with Scientology.85 This June 1995 "incompatibility" decision was issued to circumvent a January 1995 FDP Federal Arbitration Court decision finding that the FDP’s policy of excluding all Scientologists from party membership violated the German Constitution and was incompatible with fundamental human rights and the principles of a democratic society.86

These actions targeting 30,000 Scientologists who represent less than 0.04% of the German population, to curry political favor with the majority, violate Germany’s obligations to protect its citizens’ right to full and equal political rights without distinction based on race, color, religion or ideology.

Taking part in the conduct of public affairs is a basic human right prized by people throughout the world and recognized as a basic human right in every region of the world. International instruments for the promotion and protection of human rights are replete with admonitions that political participation be free. Moreover, these instruments protect the rights of individuals to meaningfully participate in the political process and require the removal of obstacles to such participation such as measures which prohibit individuals from joining political parties based on their associations or beliefs.

The right to full and equal political participation is also recognized in the draft general principles on freedom and non-discrimination in the matter of political rights formulated by the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, which require that:

Every national of a country is entitled within that country to full and equal political rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Although Germany has argued that it is not responsible for the actions of “private” parties, this argument does not withstand scrutiny. The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights creates a positive duty on the part of a State to prevent such discrimination and ensure equal protection of the law. Yet, the German government has not only failed to fulfill its affirmative duty to ensure equality and prevent discrimination by protecting the political rights of German Scientologists, it has endorsed and sanctioned these undemocratic actions.

The CDU, political party of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, resolved that membership in the Church of Scientology is “incompatible” with membership in the CDU, even though many Scientologists were active and contributing members of the party. The Young Union of the CDU continues to carry out a hate campaign against the Church and its members in Germany.

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