Leading Jewish international human rights organization lauds Pope Francis’ commitment to human dignity and call for global justice
New York, NY – As Pope Francis visits the United States this week, Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS) issued the following statement:
Statement of Ruth Messinger, President of AJWS
“As Jews who are committed to pursuing justice for the poorest and most oppressed people on earth, we are proud to stand on common ground with Pope Francis in the struggle to overcome some of the most pervasive forms of injustice and inequality in the world today. We applaud Pope Francis for resolutely speaking out against violence against women and girls, the unbridled greed that has resulted in an immoral, worldwide disparity in wealth, the exploitation of natural resources for short-term profit and the abuse of our environment and the forced displacement of indigenous peoples.
“We are united with Pope Francis by our shared belief in the human dignity of each and every person, and we thank him for raising awareness of these important issues. We believe that people of different faiths must come together to address some of our most pressing human rights challenges today. As Jews and as global citizens who believe that working to improve the lives of every man, woman and child is a moral obligation, we welcome the Pope’s clarion call for justice, and we look forward to strengthened global, interfaith collaboration on behalf of the most vulnerable people on earth.
“While there are issues on which we disagree with Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church, we laud the Pope’s leadership in elevating the devastating impact of market forces and disparities in wealth, the increasing effects of climate change and the need to protect the land rights of indigenous farmers on the global policy agenda. We also praise him for speaking out against the worldwide epidemic of violence against women and girls. We join the Pope’s call to people, governments and international bodies to act now in the pursuit of justice.
“We believe that all people are equally entitled to human rights. This belief is central to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, adopted by the United Nations in response to the genocide of European Jews and other crimes against humanity during World War II. This modern tenet shares much in common with our abiding belief that all human beings are created in the same image—infinitely valuable and deserving of respect. We welcome every opportunity to work with people of every faith and of no faith to uphold the value of every life.”
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