The world of diplomats, the UN, the
city of Geneva... all this does not seem to be very close to the concerns of
the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society, especially
the accompaniment of the poor. How do you see yourself?
First of all, my work is not primarily with diplomats. It is first of
all, in very concrete terms, to try to give access to places of deliberation
and decision to those who come from further away, who are more precarious.
Young workers, workers in the informal sector, migrants.
So I experience this dimension of accompanying the poor. But, in fact,
there is something of all four Preferences
of the Society. I have worked with great pleasure with the young workers’
movements: so with young people too. With the Church movements that are
interested in labour we tried to work towards a discernment, in an approach
that was indeed spiritual (Preference 1) and not simply militant, to promote
work that also allows the safeguarding of creation (Preference 4). This is natural,
as these Preferences converge very
strongly. This led to a four-year project entitled “The future of work, work
after Laudato Si’”.
Can you give us an example of a
project in which you have been involved that has had a positive impact... on
The most significant
example is obviously the coalition and programme for the eradication of the
worst forms of child labour. This programme is based on clear international
standards from the ILO and ratified by all countries. Between 2000 and 2016,
concerted initiatives between the ILO and the countries concerned have reduced
child labour by 96 million (for an estimated 150 million children affected).
Many Catholic organisations are involved. The Pope himself has taken up the
cause. Yes, progress is possible there, as well as in areas like developing
more social protection, safeguarding domestic workers, guaranteeing fundamental
freedoms. On many of these issues, the voice of the Catholic Church matters. It
must not fail to be heard.