MEDIA RELEASE: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS, ARGENTINEAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS UNITE TO ERADICATE MODERN SLAVERY

Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 16th, 2017 – For the first time in the Americas, Global Freedom Network has brought together religious leaders of the Christian Catholic and Orthodox, as well as Hindu, Evangelical, Jewish, Sikh, Anglican and Muslim faiths who have jointly declared their commitment to stand united against modern slavery.

In a historic act, a Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery was signed by:

  • Monsignor Oscar Vicente Ojea, Bishop of San Isidro and President of the Conferencia Episcopal Argentina (Catholic)
  • Grand Rabbi Sacca, Grand Rabbi of the Sephardi Community in Argentina and Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich, Grand Rabbi of AMIA and of the Ashkenazi Jewish Community (Jewish)
  • Sheij Abdelnaby Elfhefnawy, Imam of all the Muslims of Argentina (Muslim)
  • Monsignor Kissag Mouradian, Archbishop for Argentina and Chile of the Armenian Orthodox Church and Mons. Tarasios, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in Argentina and Exarch of South America (Orthodox)
  • Pastor Ruben Proietti, President of ACIERA and the Latin American Evangelical Churches Association and Pastor Daniel Favaro, Secretary General of the Iglesia Metodista Evangélica Argentina (Evangelicals)
  • Angraj Singh, Religious leader of the Sikh community in Argentina in the absence of Ram Krishan Singh Khalsa who will be on a pilgrimage (Sikh)
  • Reverend Michael Wilkie, Representative of Reverend Gregory Venables, Bishop Primate of the South American Province of the Anglican Church (Anglican)
  • Mr. Omar Abboud, Co-President and former President of the Centro Islámico de la República Argentina; Presbítero Guillermo Marcó, Co-President and former Spokesperson for His Holiness Pope Francis; Rabbi Daniel Goldman, Co-president and Rabbi at Bet-El Community (Instituto de Diálogo Interreligioso)

Global Freedom Network is an inter-faith organization committed to eradication of modern slavery through engagement with religious leaders around the world and working with them to take spiritual and practical actions to eradicate modern slavery.

Andrew Forrest, the Chairman of the Global Freedom Network, expressed his hope that this event will inspire the government and business leaders to join with Argentine religious leaders in the fight against modern slavery.

“Faiths alone can’t end modern slavery, no matter how powerful and influential they are. It is going to take a collaboration by faiths, the private sector, civil society and governments, working together tackling the heinous beast of modern slavery from every angle.”

“This groundbreaking event in Argentina followed on from a historic meeting at the Vatican in 2014 where for 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.”

The event was organized during the IV Global Conference on the Sustainable Eradication of Child Labour with the support of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship and Ministry of Labour, and Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security. 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.

According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, an estimated 0.4 percent (175,500) of the population is in modern slavery. It is estimated that this exploitation primarily occurs in agriculture and the textile industry. In 2017, the Government of Argentina established a National Action Plan to combat trafficking and gender-based violence. Also, it was one of the few countries in the region with a national action plan targeting some form of modern slavery, which also had an independent body to monitor its implementation. More recently, Argentina made significant progress to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.

For more information please visit: https://www.walkfreefoundation.org/ and https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/region/the-americas/.

ENDS