Let’s build a just, fraternal and sustainable society!
That was the motto of the International Seminar and subsequent General Assembly of the World Movement of Christian Workers (WMCW).
A total of 163 delegates from 44 national Christian workers’ movements from the continents of Africa, America, Asia and Europe met from 17 to 20 July 2013 at Haltern am See in the diocese of Münster. The International Seminar of the WMCW had been in preparation over the last four years through accompanying seminars in the different regions around the world. The specialist regional meetings all had the same theme: “Migration and Globalisation”. The results of the individual meetings were presented at the start of the International Seminar and thus provided the starting point for the International Seminar.
Search for work a major reason for migration
It was established that migration affects society in all countries and that it is a complex phenomenon. A major reason for migration is the search for work and income in order to feed the family. Separation of families leads to major problems and, from time to time, to the breaking of family ties. Many migrants also find integration into the recipient country difficult. At the same time, they are increasingly distanced from their country of origin, which can lead to a loss of identity. The Movements complain about the differing treatment of different groups of migrants by the recipient countries. They therefore call for a right of migration for all people. However, it is also important to strengthen the rights of workers in the countries of origin, so that its people do not need to migrate.
Working in solidarity for a new world
The goal of the International Seminar is to work together, in solidarity, for a new world which would be better for people and the environment. “Just the life testimonies of the members from the South can give us in Europe new heart and perspectives for our commitment,” said Betina Beate, Secretary General of the WMCW.
In the current economic and financial crisis, there are reports of increasing unemployment, precarious work, modern slavery, poor working conditions and wages and an erosion of the social security systems. In many places, young people have no future. In his sermon during the service in connection with the day when the delegates met the various local and regional groups of the German Catholic Workers Movement (KAB), the Suffragan Bishop of Münster, Dr Stefan Zehkorn, reiterated the value of each human being. “Everybody is Somebody!”, but that “Somebody” is increasingly being hurt, he stated. As an example, he cited, besides migrants, people in precarious working situations and young people who are unemployed.
Defence of social rights a “must” for justice
In the Final declaration of the International Seminar and General Assembly of the WMCW, the delegates criticised unrestrained capitalism. Respect for the rights of workers is a fundamental criterion for economic life, because the economy must serve the needs of the people, especially the poorest. Therefore they advocate proper social protection. They also demand fair distribution, and a community at the international level where political measures are developed for fair distribution of economic, social and cultural wealth. The WMCW also calls for a strong environmental policy.
The WMCW’s final declaration ends with a six-point commitment, including the following: “We are willing to spread and extend a new social and political mentality. A way of life which believes that another world, another policy and another economy are necessary and possible and that we are already building it.”
Translated from the original text in German
The World Movement of Christian Workers (WMCW), founded in 1966, is an international movement of Christian workers’ organisations. It brings together more than 50 organisations on four continents. All are inspired by the Gospel to raise humanitarian and Christian awareness, provide education and organise social and apostolic action to improve the living conditions of workers in social, economic and cultural terms, thereby contributing to creating a world that is more just and sustainable.