Emmaus International

Three days after the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and the publication of our first global report on our fight against poverty, “Emmaus: Our Voices”, the members of the board of Emmaus International, who have gathered in Paris (France), reassert the urgency of this struggle and the need to attack the structural causes of poverty.

Paris, 20 October 2021

We can no longer accept states’ absence or disengagement when it comes to ensuring social equity and protecting the most fragile among us.

We can no longer accept a weakened, asymmetric rule of law that privileges the economic interests of large companies and nourishes their impunity to the detriment of people’s rights and freedoms.

We can no longer accept the privatisation of public goods, which renders them less accessible to the most vulnerable and leads to the destruction of our environment.

We have noticed that the global pandemic has worsened inequality and the general state of poverty throughout the world [1].

Poverty is not inevitable—it is the result of political choices. Here, we take the occasion to reaffirm our 3 requirements:

  • Involving vulnerable people for them to assume their rightful place in society
  • Placing the public interest at the heart of public policies
  • Developing an economy that genuinely works for human beings and their environment

We ask all Emmaus groups to rally support for our requirements by calling upon citizens to sign the appeal we have initiated to this effect. We are committed to challenging decision-makers worldwide so that they, in turn, commit to ensuring respect for fundamental rights, populations’ well-being, and the public interest.

Welcoming the most vulnerable with dignity, no matter what their suffering may be, is both a practice and a founding principle of the Emmaus movement, as well as a necessary precondition for excluded persons to recover their place in society. Allowing people the freedom of movement and settlement, no matter their standard of living or country of origin, is its corollary.

Alas, we find ourselves again witnesses to violent, brutal policies that exclude and criminalise exiled persons. The members of the board wish to communicate Emmaus International’s support for the three activists in Calais, France, who have begun a hunger strike to demand that the French government cease their near-daily practice of destroying exiled persons’ camps and confiscating their possessions. This unusual cruelty stems from the growing inhumanity of migration policies and the stubborn insistence of the French and European political classes on casting exiled persons as scapegoats, rather than undertaking radical, necessary actions to change a dysfunctional system.

When facing poverty, the response must be to welcome and to share.

Photo CA oct 2021

[1] According to the World Bank, the pandemic could tip an additional 150 million people over the edge into extreme poverty.