Religious leaders sign joint declaration to end slavery

Posted by Siobhan O'Neill Meluso
Friday 05, December 2014 | Category:   Ecumenism
Pope Francis and other religious leaders at the Vatican sign joint declaration to eradicate slavery. Photograph: AP
Pope Francis and other religious leaders at the Vatican sign joint declaration to eradicate slavery.
Photo credit: AP
On Dec. 2, the United Nations' Day for the Abolition of Slavery, Pope Francis and 11 leaders representing the Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox, Anglican, Buddhist, and Hindu faiths met and made a united commitment to help eradicate slavery worldwide.

According to Catholic News Service, the leaders signed the joint declaration at the headquarters of Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Vatican Gardens. The signatories included Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury; Rabbi David Rosen, international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee; Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi, an influential Shiite scholar; and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

The declaration recognized that any action that fails to respect every person's 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," it said.

"We cannot tolerate that the image of the living God [present in every human being] is subjected to this most abominable form of trafficking," Pope Francis said.

The pope asked that people of faith join together in the fight to end slavery and he called for the "steadfast support" of the world's governments, businesses, and people of good will to "join this movement."

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