MEDIA RELEASE: Indonesian religious leaders unite against modern slavery

This morning, seven religious leaders who represent all religions constitutionally admitted in Indonesia; Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism gathered and expressed their commitment to stand united against modern slavery in an event hosted by the Vice President, Jusuf Kalla, at the Vice Presidential Palace, Merdeka Selatan, Jakarta.

In a ceremonial act, a Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery was signed by Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, and Confucian leaders in support of their strong stance against modern slavery.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla explained what this declaration meant for the Indonesian people and the importance of the Indonesian government to lead in the global fight on modern slavery.
“To fight against modern slavery, we need not only advocacy, but also real action to not fall into the trap of modern slavery,” said the Vice President when meeting the Preparation Team for Joint Declaration against Modern Slavery, Monday (20/2/2017).

The event also saw a launch of the Global Freedom Network in Indonesia, with singer and youth leader Maudy Ayunda speak on behalf of the young generation. As one of the most well-known celebrity figures in today’s Indonesia, Maudy’s involvement will carry the message to younger generations.
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 Indonesian religious leaders in the fight against modern slavery.

“I am delighted and honoured that the leaders of Indonesia’s major faiths have come together to celebrate the values that bind us together – our common love of humanity and our shared conviction that the systematic removal of liberty to exploit another is unconscionable. I am also deeply grateful for the support of Indonesia’s esteemed Vice President and Paramadina University, and applaud their courage and conviction to work together to end the hideous scourge of modern slavery,” he said.

Prof. Firmanzah, President of Paramadina University was also present at the event and used the occasion to raise the concern of modern slavery in Indonesia.

“Opposing all forms of modern slavery … not only in accordance with one of the target of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that is ‘the abolition of modern slavery’ (an end to slavery). However, more important than that is the mandate of our country’s constitution which is against all forms of slavery and colonialism. In the Preamble of the 1945 Constitution it is clearly stated ‘That indeed freedom is the right of every nation and therefore, colonialism over the world should be abolished because it is not in accordance with humanity and justice,” Firmanzah said during his remarks.

According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, 45.8 million people still live in modern slavery around the world. In Indonesia alone, 736,100 people are living in some conditions of slavery. Some of the most common forms of modern slavery in Indonesia include human trafficking, forced labour, and slavery at sea. Indonesia has ratified several conventions regarding the issue yet cases of modern slavery still appear in Indonesia today in certain industries such as fishery and palm oil agriculture.

This event was jointly organized by Paramadina University and Walk Free Foundation, an international human rights organisation with a mission to end modern slavery around the world.