The Global Freedom Network is continuing to build on the momentum achieved through the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery in events in Vatican City, Delhi and Canberra in 2014 and 2015. We believe that the actions and testimony of the faith leaders will inspire other leaders and their communities around the world to also unite in this vision of ending modern slavery, for all times. Engagement is ongoing with other world faiths that share the aspiration for a world without modern slavery. Faith Leader forums are planned in other countries including Indonesia in March 2017.
Vatican City, Italy
On Tuesday, 2 December 2014, the inaugural signing of the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery took place at Casina Pio IV, Vatican City. Global leaders from the Christian Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox religions, as well as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths signed the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery. Initiated and coordinated by the Global Freedom Network, the event was historic not only for its definitive commitment to work across religions to eradicate modern slavery, but also because it was possibly the first time ever that these faith leaders had met as a group, unified in a common cause, signing their names on the same document. It was the first time since the establishment of the Catholic Church that the Pope had met with a Grand Ayatollah in person. In addition, it was the first time post the Reformation that the Catholic Church and Anglican Communion had reached an agreement on a global initiative. Furthermore, it was a rare joint initiative between Sunni and Shia Muslim leaders. They were joined by leaders from many countries of the world, representing the business, political and civil sectors.
On Wednesday, 2 December 2015, the second signing of the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery took place at Parliament House, Canberra, precisely one year after the inaugural signing in Vatican City. On this occasion, it was Australian faith leaders who were pledging to do all that they could to take spiritual practical action to end slavery. This initiative was led by the Salvation Army with the support and endorsement of the Global Freedom Network. Christian Evangelical, Baptist, Salvation Army, Presbyterian, Coptic Orthodox, Anglican, Catholic, Muslim Sunni and Shai, Lutheran, Jewish, Hindu, Quakers, Uniting Church and Buddhist leaders took part in the event.
New Delhi, India
On Thursday, 3 December 2015, the third signing of the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery took place at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India. Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jain, Baha’i and Jewish leaders made the pledge to unite on the vision of eradicating modern slavery. Unlike the events in Vatican City and Australia, the Indian event was followed by a Roundtable Discussion on ‘Eradication of bonded and forced labour in India’. There were seven speakers including Chief Guest and Key Note Speaker, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and survivor advocate, Susheela.