Medellin, Colombia

On 26th August 2018, eight Latin American faith leaders have united to jointly declare their commitment to stand against modern slavery.

The religious leaders were brought together at a historic event in Medellin, Colombia, organised by the Global Freedom Network, an initiative of the Walk Free Foundation, in collaboration with the Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano (CELAM). The event united religious leaders from the region to commit to eradicating modern slavery through spiritual and practical actions.

The new signatories join 63 other Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Buddhist, Hindu, Evangelical, Jewish, Sikh, Baha’i and Muslim leaders who have signed the Joint Declaration at historic events in Vatican City (2014), Canberra (2015), New Delhi (2015), Jakarta (2017) and Buenos Aires (2017).

Andrew Forrest AO, Chairman of Global Freedom Network, called on all Latin American religious leaders to join governments and businesses in the fight against modern slavery.

“We face a mighty foe in slavery and if we work alone we will not succeed, no matter how influential or powerful we may be. But if we recognize this as an urgent cause to unite all leaders, across faiths, borders and industries, we can end suffering for tens of millions of people,” Mr Forrest said.

“I call on all faith leaders to raise awareness of this horrible abuse of human rights, to shape positive social values in line with your teachings, and inspire hope.”

Reverend Jorge Daniel Zijlstra Arduin, acting President of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI), said: “Today we are signing the Religious Leaders’ Joint Declaration Against Modern Slavery on behalf of over 100 denomination and organisations across 20 Latin American and Caribbean nations that make up the Latin American Council of Churches because protecting the lives of those most vulnerable is an evangelical obligation. Human lives cannot be sacrificed any longer in the pursuit of ever growing economic profits, regardless of how this is achieved.”

The event was held following the Congresio Eclesial which gathered to celebreate the 50th anniversary of the Medellin Conference. The Global Freedom Network is an initiative of the Walk Free Foundation, an international human rights organisation with a mission to end modern slavery around the world.