- On the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery faith leaders have signed a joint declaration stating that modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labour and prostitution, organ trafficking, and any relationship that fails to respect the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have the same freedom and dignity, is a crime against humanity and must be recognised as such by everyone and by all nations.
- Common commitment to inspire spiritual and practical action by all world faiths and people of goodwill everywhere to eradicate modern slavery
Vatican City, Tuesday, 2 December 2014 – Today, on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, the Global Freedom Network (GFN) has brought together leaders of the Christian Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox, as well as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths who have jointly declared one common humanitarian endeavour: To eradicate modern slavery by 2020 throughout our world and for all time as a crime against humanity. In a ceremonial act, a Joint
Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery was signed by:
- Catholic: Pope Francis
- Hindu: Her Holiness Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma)
- Buddhist: Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) (represented by Venerable Bhikkhuni Thich Nu Chan Khong)
- Buddhist: The Most Ven. Datuk K Sri Dhammaratana, Chief High Priest of Malaysia
- Jewish: Rabbi Dr. Abraham Skorka
- Jewish: Chief Rabbi David Rosen, KSG, CBE
- Orthodox: His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (represented by His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France)
- Muslim: Mohamed Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (represented by Dr. Abbas Abdalla Abbas Soliman, Undersecretary of State of Al Azhar Alsharif)
- Muslim: Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi
- Muslim: Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Basheer Hussain al Najafi (represented by Sheikh Naziyah Razzaq Jaafar, Special advisor of Grand Ayatollah)
- Muslim: Sheikh Omar Abboud
- Anglican: Most Revd and Right Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
A number of faith leaders spoke at the event and video messages were given by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and by Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Basheer Hussain al Najafi who could not attend the ceremony but are equally committed to eradicating modern slavery and human trafficking.
Videos of the event are available on: http://www.multivu.com/players/English/7391151-faith-leaders- eradicate-slavery/ as well as on the GFN Website: http://www.globalfreedomnetwork.org
As one of the founding partners of the Global Freedom Network, the Walk Free Foundation’s Andrew Forrest, witnessed the historic event and called for international organisations and business leaders to join with faith leaders in the fight against modern slavery.
This is the first time in history that the leaders of the Christian Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox, as well as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths have come together to jointly declare one common endeavour against slavery.
Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery
“We, the undersigned, are gathered here today for a historic initiative to inspire spiritual and practical action by all global faiths and people of good will everywhere to eradicate modern slavery across the world by 2020 and for all time.
In the eyes of God*, each human being is a free person, whether girl, boy, woman or man, and is destined to exist for the good of all in equality and fraternity. Modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labour and prostitution, organ trafficking, and any relationship that fails to respect the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have the same freedom and dignity, is a crime against humanity.
We pledge ourselves here today to do all in our power, within our faith communities and beyond, to work together for the freedom of all those who are enslaved and trafficked so that their future may be restored. Today we have the opportunity, awareness, wisdom, innovation and technology to achieve this human and moral imperative.”
*The Grand Imam of Al Azhar uses the word “religions”
For more information please visit: http://www.globalfreedomnetwork.org Professional images and videos are provided free of charge on the GFN website: http://www.globalfreedomnetwork.org and on http://www.multivu.com/players/English/7391151- faith-leaders-eradicate-slavery/ Please also visit our social media channels: Twitter @gfn2020 (#EndSlavery)
About modern slavery
Modern slavery is the systematic deprivation of a person’s liberty, and abuse of his or her body, for example through mutilation or organ removal, for the purposes of personal or commercial exploitation.
According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index released by GFN’s member partner Walk Free Foundation, almost 36 million people are currently trapped in modern slavery. These are people who have lost their freedom and are being exploited for personal or commercial gain. According to the International Labour Organization the total profits obtained from the use of forced labour in the private economy worldwide amount to US$150 billion per year.
The Global Freedom Network
The Global Freedom Network is a faith-based global network with a vision and purpose to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking throughout our world and for all time. It was launched on 17 March 2014 at the Vatican. The Memorandum of Agreement and Joint Statement establishing the Global Freedom Network had signatories from the Casina Pio IV, Lambeth Palace, Al Azhar Mosque and Walk Free Foundation.
The Global Freedom Network has outlined six fields of action for achieving its vision. These include mobilising faith based communities, supply chain proofing to promote ethical purchasing arrangements, improving the care for victims and survivors, advocating for law reforms and enforcement, facilitating and promoting education and awareness, and securing sizeable funds in order to carry out its task.
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