Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pope Francis And Other Religious Leaders Sign Declaration Against Modern Slavery

L'Huffington Post | By Guilia Belardelli

Posted: 12/02/2014 4:16 pm EST Updated: 12/03/2014 1:59 am EST


Empathy, love, respect, equality: these are the common denominators which caused the leaders of the world’s major religions to sign a declaration committed to the elimination of slavery and human trafficking by the year 2020 today at the Vatican.

The catalyst behind this meeting, which included Pope Francis, the Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi, Mata Amritanandamayi (a Hindu spiritual leader), and the venerable Bhikkhuni Thich Nu Chan Khong (representing the Zen Master Zen Thich Nhat Hanh), is the Global Freedom Network, a global religion-based network created this year with the goal of destroying modern slavery in every form, from child labor, prostitution and organ trafficking to any act which violates the dignity or liberty of any single person.

For the first time in history, major Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox Christian authorities, along with leaders of the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim religions, met to sign a shared commitment against modern slavery, which is considered a crime against humanity.

“We consider any action which does not treat others as equals to be an abhorrent crime,” Pope Francis said. “God is a love that is manifested in every human being; everyone is equal and ought to be afforded the same liberty and dignity.” Ignoring this fact, the Pope added, “is an abhorrent crime” that manifests itself as “modern slavery…an offense against humanity with victims from every walk of life, but above all amongst the poor.”

Francis spoke of the “atrocious scourge present on a large scale throughout the world, under the guise of tourism,” referencing prostitution, human trafficking, forced labor, child labor and the sale of organs. A reality which, he added, “is getting worse every day.” The Pope therefore urged both governments and the public to take responsibility, asking them to “elevate the spiritual standard of living and the vision of liberation” for mankind.