KOLLAM (KERALA): Mata Amritanandamayi joined hands with other world religious leaders in Rome on Tuesday and declared her commitment towards eradication of modern slavery by 2020. She was in Vatican on an invitation by Pope Francis.
Her visit coincided with the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. Mata Amritanandamayi, who sat next to the Pope in the front row, signed the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery. The declaration underlined that modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labour and prostitution, is a crime against humanity and must be recognised as such by everyone and by all nations.
The declaration also affirmed that any relationship that fails to respect the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have the same freedom and dignity, is a crime.
“We are honoured and thankful that His Holiness Pope Francis has gathered us here today under the auspices of the Global Freedom Network. I am optimistic that all global faiths are uniting together to inspire both spiritual and practical actions towards society ending the horror of slavery and human trafficking,” she said prior to signing the Declaration.
“People from all nations and religions become victims to the ravaging effects of human enslavement and experience extreme abuse and suffering. Their physical and mental pain does not differentiate between language, race or skin colour. These victims are just a single group of humans, struggling against the clutches of endless sorrow and emotional suppression,” she noted.
Amma said the human mind has created many divisions in the form of religion, caste, language and national boundaries. “Let us try to create a bridge of all-encompassing pure love to break down these self-created walls,” she appealed.
This was for the first time in history that the leaders of the Christian (Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox) as well as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths jointly sign a declaration against the practice of slavery from all parts of the world.
The initiative to bring together world religious leaders on a common platform was made by the Global Freedom Network (GFN), which is a faith-based global network with a vision and purpose to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking across the world and for all time. It was launched in March this year at the Vatican. A number of leaders from international organisations, including GFN partner Andrew Forrest of the Walk Free Foundation, civil society organisations and businesses attended the signing of the declaration. According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, around 36 million people are currently trapped in modern slavery and are being exploited for personal or commercial gain.