Religious leaders sign declaration to eliminate modern slavery

3 December 2014

Faith leaders from the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths have signed a joint declaration to eradicate modern slavery by 2020.

The declaration, which urges all nations to recognise that modern slavery is a crime against humanity, was developed by the Global Freedom Network. Established in March 2014 at the Vatican, the network of faiths has six fields of action for eradicating modern slavery, including ensuring that supply chains are checked to ensure all purchasing is free of modern slavery.

David Noble, group CEO, CIPS, attended the signing of the declaration as a guest of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Andrew Forrest, who launched the Global Freedom Network. He was invited to witness the signing in recognition of the key role played by procurement and supply in achieving the goal of erradicating modern slavery. While in Vatican City, he met the UK's newly appointed anti-slavery commissioner Kevin Hyland and spoke with attendees to discuss the importance and impact of supply chains.

Leader of the Catholic Church Pope Francis, Archbishop Justin Welby and Muslim Shia leader Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Taqi al-Modarresi were among those signing the Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery, which states that modern slavery, including forced labour, “fails to respect the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have the same freedom and dignity” and must be recognised by all nations as 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 read. “Today we have the opportunity, awareness, wisdom, innovation and technology to achieve this human and moral imperative.”

Archbishop Justin Welby said that the Modern Slavery Bill, currently going through UK Parliament, is “a very good model”, to combat the problem. “We can work with the business sector across the global to ensure robust systems for slave-free supply chains,” he added.

In October, Noble said CIPS was delighted supply chain reporting had been reintroduced to the Modern Slavery Bill. "The importance and value of good management of supply chains cannot be underestimated in these discussions and the profession has a huge role to play," he said. 

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