The ongoing struggle for the right to religious freedom was referred to as the most significant contemporary human rights battle by speakers in Washington, D.C. on Monday at the opening of this year’s international summit on religious freedom, held at the Hungarian Embassy.
Tristan Azbej, State Secretary for Programmes Assisting Persecuted Christians at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, emphasized in an interview with MTI during the event that the fact that the Hungarian Embassy in Washington hosts the opening of the major international conference is not only an opportunity but also recognition of the work carried out by the Hungarian government and Hungary in this field.
In his opening speech, the state secretary reported on recent achievements of Hungarian efforts in assisting persecuted Christians and other religious communities. He highlighted assistance provided to Nigeria, Nicaragua, and new support for the Yazidi community in Iraq. As a core aspect of the Hungary Helps programme, he highlighted delivering aid directly to local communities in need.
Katrina Lantos, co-chair of the international summit on religious freedom and daughter of the late Tom Lantos, a Hungarian American member of the US Congress, expressed that Hungary is ‘setting the pace’ in assisting persecuted religious communities, both in words and actions. She added that the fight for religious freedom represents a struggle for the ‘most fundamental human right.’
Samuel Brownback, former US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, mentioned that the summit has become comprehensive, gathering the highest-ranking participants to date, and announced that the lower house speaker of the US Congress, Mike Johnson, will address the three-day event.
Bishop Wilfred Anagbe from Nigeria emphasized that every individual has the right to practice their own religion and faith.
He characterized Hungary as a frontline fighter for persecuted Christians.
Hosting the event at the Hungarian Embassy, Ambassador Szabolcs Takács pointed out that no religion should stand above another, and all religions should be welcomed as long as they do not pose a threat to the followers of other religions. The diplomat underscored that the Hungarian nation is bound by a thousand years of Christian history and has learned how deeply rooted religious values can be taken away. Therefore, it understands the value of the right to religious freedom today.
The international summit on religious freedom was first held in Washington in 2021. During this year’s event, leaders of civil organizations, religious leaders, and politicians from the United States and several countries around the world will discuss the protection of rights related to religious freedom over three days. Several American universities are also represented at the event, and accompanying events are being organized.
Source: Hungarian Conservative/MTI