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OFFICIAL: UN RAPPORTEUR ASKS HUNGARY TO SHARE POLICY OF AIDING PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS WITH REST OF WORLD

 

The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief has asked Hungary to share its experience with its policy of aiding persecuted Christians with the rest of the world, a foreign ministry official said on Friday. Tristan Azbej, the state secretary in charge of aiding persecuted Christians, said at the end of his visit to Washington, DC, that he had spoken with UN Special Rapporteur Nazila Ghanea on the sidelines of the International Religious Freedom Summit. He said Ghanea had specifically asked that Hungary share its unique experience in using humanitarian aid to assist in the survival of persecuted Christians and other religious groups. The state secretary said this year’s religious freedom summit had been attended by more countries than ever before, with representatives of persecuted groups, national governments and other types of organsiations present. He said it was a hopeful sign that whereas in the past, such summits had resulted only in statements, this time there was reason to trust that it would yield “tangible action”. Azbej said Hungary had contributed to the summit by presenting the work carried out by the state secretariat in charge of aiding persecuted Christians since 2016 as well as the operations of the Hungary Helps humanitarian programme which promotes through development policy the cause of the freedom of religion.
Meanwhile, the state secretary said he had taken part in several political meetings in Washington, meeting US political figures, including members of Congress. He said that in his experience, Hungary and the Hungarian government’s values nearly fully align with those of the American right and Christian conservative American people and organisations. He said one struggle that was once again gaining importance was the fight against anti-Semitism, which, he added, US conservatives also valued. The state secretary pointed out that violent anti-Semitism had reared its head again in the Western world and the US following developments in Gaza. Azbej said his negotiating partners had all spoken highly of Hungary’s efforts to protect Christians and fight against anti-Semitism, and measures taken in the interest of families, the institution of marriage and the protection of life.
The state secretary said he had also attended the National Prayer Breakfast, whose organiser had highlighted Hungary’s family policy and protection of persecuted Christians to the House Representatives and Senators in attendance, including Speaker of the House Mike Johnson. Azbej noted his meeting with Republican Senator J. D. Vance, who had previously voiced his support for Hungary on several issues and had again spoken highly of the steps taken by Hungary in aiding persecuted Christians. Senator Vance also expressed his agreement with Hungary’s pro-peace stance on the war in Ukraine, Azbej added. The International Religious Freedom Summit was held in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday, with its opening event held at the Hungarian embassy.