Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at a conference on the prevention of sexual violence in armed conflicts in London that the Hungarian government is committed to the future of the Hungary Helps programme in support of persecuted Christians.
The minister stressed that persecuted Christian communities of the world can count on the support of Hungary even in times of economic difficulties. Péter Szijjártó spoke at the conference organized by the UK Foreign Office on Monday. ‘Hungary as a nation has more than a thousand years of Christians statehood and it feels responsibility towards persecuted Christians around the world,’ the minister added.
He also recalled that the Hungary Helps initiative was launched five years ago and has already provided over 80 million dollars’ worth of funding for the rebuilding of homes and institutions, the running of schools and hospitals and has also provided direct economic support to those affected by persecution, to help them stay in their home countries, or to return to them. Overall, Hungary has provided assistance to over one million people in 54 countries through Hungary Helps, Péter Szijjártó reminded.
Szijjártó added that he believes it is regrettable that in the 21st century extremist ideologies have not stopped their rapid spread, and that a large number of people still fall victims to ethnic and religious persecution, often aggravated by sexual violence. He also emphasized that Hungary is closely monitoring the situation of persecuted Christians and has provided special support to the Catholic Church of Nigeria, as well as the Chaldean Catholic Church of Iraq. This support included helping the rehabilitation of women who have been victimized by Islamist terrorists.
Minister Szijjártó posted a video on his social media of his encounter with Iraqi human rights activist, Nadia Murad. ‘Many of us were in the room that day, but there was one person who understood what Hungarian policies are all about, what it really means to provide help where it’s needed,’ the minister wrote, adding that Hungary is directly supporting local communities and churches, allowing people affected not to leave their countries, but to live in dignified conditions in their homeland.
Szijjártó reminded his followers that Nadia Murad survived extensive atrocities committed by the Islamic State and is now part of a fight that is trying to ensure that no one else has to go through what she experienced. ‘Hungary helps not only with words, but with actions, real actions, and we both know it,’ he added.
The minister also met with his British counterpart, James Cleverly in London. The meeting was the first such between the Hungarian foreign minister and the recently appointed UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Péter Szijjártó said he and his colleague discussed the grave challenges the international community is faced with, adding that Hungary is committed to continuing a dialogue with Britain on the basis of mutual respect. He highlighted that Hungary as a neighbouring country is first and foremost interested in peace in Ukraine as soon as possible, acknowledging that it was understandable that there are other points of view thousands of kilometres away from the conflict.