Persecuted Christians need help to be given in their homelands, while those who have fled their homelands must be helped to return, the state secretary for aiding persecuted Christians said on Thursday in Bratislava at an international conference on the protection of religious freedom. Tristan Azbej told public media that action was necessary at a time when a large part of the world’s population lived in countries where the religious freedom of some communities was oppressed. Azbej, who also heads the Hungary Helps programme, said he had briefed at the conference representatives of the Visegrád Group and other countries of Hungary’s six-year work in over 50 countries to support persecuted Christian communities. He lamented the “disinterest and denial” Hungary encountered earlier when seeking cooperation with other countries. “While over 300 million people are discriminated against because of their Christian faith worldwide, Western liberal politicians try to deny that fact,” he said, pointing to the killing of some 50 people at a Nigerian Catholic church this year. While Hungary sent swift aid, “leading western politicians and European Union leaders said it shouldn’t be seen as religious persecution but as a consequence of climate change,” he said. “Putting aside politically correct considerations,” Hungary works directly with local churches and religious organisations, and so far has helped more than 500,000 people worldwide, he said. The initiative is gaining followers in the Visegrád Group, and cooperation has already started Slovenia too, he said.