Vatican City, 28 May 2014 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to the director general of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for its 103rd Session, to take place in Geneva from 28 May to 12 June 2014, on the theme “Building a future with decent work”. During these fifteen days, the workers, representatives of business and governments of the 185 Member States of the ILO will discuss migration, employment policy strategies, ways out of informality and the strengthening of the convention on forced labour.
“This Conference has been convened at a crucial moment of social and economic history, one which presents challenges for the entire world”, writes the Pope. “Unemployment is tragically expanding the frontiers of poverty. This is particularly disheartening for unemployed young people who can all too easily become demoralised, losing their sense of worth, feeling alienated from society”.
“Another grave and related issue confronting our world is that of mass migration: the sheer numbers of men and women forced to seek work away from their homelands is a cause for concern. Despite their hopes for a better future, they frequently encounter mistrust and exclusion, to say nothing of experiencing tragedies and disasters. Having made such sacrifices, these men and women often fail to find dignified work and fall victim to a certain 'globalisation of indifference'. Their situation exposes them to further dangers such as the horror of human trafficking, forced labour and enslavement. It is unacceptable that, in our world, slave labour has become common coin. This cannot continue! Human trafficking is a scourge, a crime against the whole of humanity. It is time to join forces and work together to free its victims and to eradicate this crime that affects all of us, from individual families to the worldwide community”.
The Holy Father states that it is “time to reinforce existing forms of cooperation and to establish new avenues for expanding solidarity. This calls for: a renewed insistence on the dignity of every person; a more determined implementation of international labour standards; planning for a focused development on the human person as its central actor and primary beneficiary; a re-evaluation of the responsibilities of international corporations in the countries where they operate, including the areas of profit and investment management; and a concerted effort to encourage governments to facilitate the movement of migrants for the benefit of all, thus eliminating human trafficking and perilous travel conditions. Effective cooperation in these areas will be greatly assisted by defining future sustainable development goals”.
He concluded by remarking that the social teaching of the Church “supports the initiatives of the ILO which aim to promote the dignity of the human person and the nobility of human labour. I encourage you in your efforts to face the challenges of today’s world in fidelity to these lofty goals. At the same time, I invoke God’s blessing on all that you do to defend and advance the dignity of work for the common good of our human family”.