Leipzig Award










2003 Leipzig Human Rights Award
of the
European-American Citizens Committee for
Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA

(originally the "2000 Alternative Charlemagne Award")

Laudatio (Mssr. Vivien spoke in German)

Dear Mr. Heldal-Lund,

First of all, permit me to welcome all the people from Germany and elsewhere who are participating in this ceremony.

I would also like to cordially thank those present from the Committee, Mr. Armstrong from Canada, Mr. Cisar from the USA, Mr. Gandow from Germany, and all the other members of the Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom for their invitation. Finally, I would also like to send my greetings to all other spiritual authorities who support this initiative.

Today we celebrate the presentation of the 2003 Leipzig Human Rights Award to a Norwegian citizen, Mr. Andreas Heldal-Lund, who is well-known for his determination and courageous involvement. His work has been of great note and is celebrated far beyond the borders of Europe.

The fight against the cult entity has become a burning responsibility, and one may be congratulated in that men and women, who are determined to fight this new form of totalitarian system, have risen up in the majority of [the world's] nations.

In the present disarray of international relations, the willpower of certain people presents a threat to democracy and to those fundamental aspects of human rights that deal with freedoms and diversity of opinion.=

This threat is all the more dangerous in that it is concealed behind the pretext of promoting religious freedom, of all things. What sort of religious freedom is this, though, when two monotheistic enemies take up arms against each other and both invoke divine protection? It would be wise, in discussions whose justification is far from evident, to avoid bringing God into play.

Cults are not [totally] absent from these confrontations which are in danger of erupting in the coming months. The support they have given to certain politicians in the past is gaining momentum in their aggressive power politics and in the audacity of their conduct in dealing with others.

To reach their goals, though, the sect has to reveal its real intentions.= To this end it tries to silence those who direct any attention to them of the sort that is necessary to form an opinion.

In view of the use that one can make of the resources of information technology today, the cults consider this area potentially immensely profitable. As in Aesop's fable, though, they have found out that each technological advance, in turn, brings opposing forces into play that are difficult to control.

Ever since Mr. Andreas Heldal-Lund got the brilliant idea of making a web site that lets the whole world know the reality of what Scientology really is, the sect -- from whom, after all, this information originates and who therefore cannot contradict it -- has limited itself to attempts to hinder its distribution.

The issue of abusing legal processes through the copyright law attracted the attention of the French government back in the year 2000. It, in fact, signifies an obvious attack on the freedom of expressing opinion, which protects human rights and which has been implemented by all the international agreements. How can one really talk about freedom, then, if it results in censorship?

Has an American copyright protection law been recently passed to become an instrument of the police with respect to this fundamental freedom? This question was asked by the United States itself, if one is to believe a report by the Associated Press on April 6 of this year. Certainly, the president of the American association for information technology downplayed the risk by asserting that "[indirect quote] if there would have been much abuse, then people would still be talking about it."

But if one takes into account the costs of the intense court proceedings in the USA, the endless procedures and the pressure used by sects in this yielding nation, then one understands why the legal complaints have never been very numerous.

And who can guarantee that something even more offensive will not occur with regards to the public awareness of the dangers from cults?

On his part, Andreas Heldal-Lund has not balked at revealing the reality of the Scientology organization's conduct through its own writings. He has done this with the requisite integrity, respect and intellectual honesty, and continues to do so. By doing this he has made a contribution to the public good.

In doing this, he is a model of the great fortitude, which is so indispensable in such difficult times and which enables the best souls to strengthen, among other things, their own ability to withstand opposition.=

In Mr. Andreas Heldal-Lund, Norway, which already dedicated itself to the values of democracy a long time ago, has the embodiment of principles that form the moral spine of a Europe on the way to unification.

Certainly, the fanaticism and denial of human values have reached previously unimagined stages in recent years. Several players are involved in arrogant fanaticism. Others can dream only of manifesting their economic and moral domination, in the conviction that their current leaders are in sole possession of the truth.

These regrettable facts should not sway us, however, but rather make us aware that the ideals of a civil society is a unique source of human progress. Our democratic societies are destructible. This is without a doubt true and obvious. But history has shown us, especially here in Leipzig, that when native men and women say "no," totalitarian systems, be they old or new, begin to crumble.

Anyone who dreams of a new Thought Police should realize: they may indeed be able slow down the movement of emancipating the spirit, but they are not able to destroy it.

But how much suffering could have been avoided in the meantime!

In that the international citizens committee is handing over this award of freedom to Mr. Andreas Heldal-Lund, it is thanking a strong and effervescent personality.

Mr. Andreas Heldal-Lund shows the path to pursue,

  • whereby the words of freedom do not lose meaning;
  • whereby the freedoms of thought and belief are no longer only a masquerade.
  • whereby the authentic spiritual and philosophical powers, and the open and peaceful discourse between them, may progress to the benefit of the entire world, without throwing it into another unspeakable tragedy.

Alain Vivien



Award Winner




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