1 December 2014 — Rome, Italy
Amma has arrived in Rome to participate as part of a historic event aimed at eradicating modern slavery by 2020. On December 2, Amma will join His Holiness Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, as well as leaders of the Anglican Church, Orthodox Churches and the Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim faiths to sign a Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery.
The declaration will underline that modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labour and prostitution, organ trafficking, and any relationship that fails to respect the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have the same freedom and dignity, is a crime against humanity, and must be recognised as such by everyone and by all nations. They will affirm their common commitment to inspiring spiritual and practical action by all faiths and people of goodwill everywhere to eradicate modern slavery.
The event is being organized and conducted by the Global Freedom Network (GFN). According to GFN research almost 36 million people have are currently trapped in modern slavery, having lost their freedom and being exploited for personal or commercial gain.
According to the International Labour Organization, the total profits obtained from the use of forced labour in the private economy worldwide amount to $150 billion U.S. per year.
In addition to Amma, the signatories will be:
• Catholic: His Holiness Pope Francis
• Buddhist: Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) (represented by Venerable Bhikkhuni Thich Nu Chan Khong)
• Buddhist: The Most Ven. Datuk K Sri Dhammaratana, Chief High Priest of Malaysia
• Jewish: Rabbi Dr. Abraham Skorka
• Jewish: Chief Rabbi David Rosen, KSG, CBE
• Orthodox: His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (represented by His Eminence
Metropolitan Emmanuel of France)
• Muslim: Mohamed Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (represented by Dr. Abbas Abdalla
Abbas Soliman, Undersecretary of State of Al Azhar Alsharif)
• Muslim: Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi
• Muslim: Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Basheer Hussain al Najafi (represented by Sheikh Naziyah
Razzaq Jaafar, Special advisor of Grand Ayatollah)
• Muslim: Sheikh Omar Abboud
• Anglican: Most Revd and Right Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
A number of leaders from international organisations, including GFN partner Andrew Forrest of the Walk Free Foundation, civil society organisations and businesses will witness the signing of the declaration on December 2.
A live stream of the ceremony will be available on amritapuri.org on 2 December from 11.00 to 12.30 CET (3.30 – 5.00 PM IST).