Monday, January 23, 2012

Working together for social justice and decent work

World Council of Churches - News


For immediate release: 23 January 2012

The dignity of work and workers is a common value among the faith
traditions. It is also the focus of a policy handbook titled Convergences:
Decent Work and Social Justice in Religious Traditions, for which the World
Council of Churches (WCC) has collaborated with the International Labour
Organization (ILO).

In the handbook, the WCC and ILO encourage policy-makers to work with faith
communities for social protection and security for all, especially in the
area of labour. Other partners in the project include the Pontifical Council
for Justice and Peace (Link: ) and the
Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (Link: ).

The publication explores the concepts of solidarity and security expressed
in the ILO's Decent Work Agenda (Link:
) (DWA), acknowledging the specific contributions and commitments of
religious traditions for social justice, dignity in work and economic

"When Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, and I met in 2010, we
both felt that our organizations should engage in a common journey based on
the conviction and knowledge that peace, social justice and the world of
work were intertwined," says Juan Somavia, the ILO's director general, in
the book's foreword.

"This handbook is the very outcome of that encounter," he added.

The handbook explains the commitments of various religious traditions,
including Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism, showing
that spiritual values are essential in the quest for a fair globalization
and wherever the subject of work is considered.

Inspired by the common religious concern for social justice, Somavia writes,
"Human dignity, solidarity and above all the connection between work, social
justice and peace put us on common ground."

"This handbook is a first step. I see much scope for future collaboration to
expedite the dawn of a new era of social justice drawing on our shared
values," states Somavia.

Tveit endorses Samavia's views, saying, "As Christians, we believe that work
is given to us as a way to steward our talents and time for the common good.
In a time when so many do not have work, we need to re-emphacize how work
also contributes to justice and peace."

Through this collaboration, the WCC encourages churches to articulate the
value of fairness regarding labour conditions and the market. This approach
has been part of the WCC Alternative Globalization Addressing People and
Earth (Link: )
(AGAPE) process, and was addressed in 2006 during the WCC 9th Assembly in

The handbook also sheds light on the longstanding WCC engagement with the
ILO in inter-religious dialogue initiatives. This manifests the potential of
dialogue in bringing diverse faith traditions together to work for common
concerns for decent work and social justice.

The handbook is available in English, Arabic, French and Spanish.

Download the handbook Convergences: Decent Work and Social Justice in
Religious Traditions (Link: )

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and
service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches
founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox,
Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in
over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.
The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran]
Church of Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.


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