The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief has requested Hungary to share with the world its experience regarding policies aimed at persecuted Christians with the world, Tristan Azbej, the State Secretary responsible for the assistance programmes to aid persecuted Christians at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated at the conclusion of his visit to Washington.
The State Secretary, overseeing the implementation of the Hungary Helps Hungarian aid programme, reported having had the opportunity to meet with Nazila Ghanea, the UN rapporteur, during the International Religious Freedom Summit held in Washington. The rapporteur’s office plays a crucial role in drawing the attention of member states to the importance of religious freedom. According to the State Secretary, the UN representative explicitly requested Hungary to share its unique experience on how humanitarian assistance can aid the survival and local presence of persecuted Christians and other religious groups.
The State Secretary emphasized that this year’s religious freedom summit marked progress with a greater representation of countries than before. Not only were representatives of those persecuted for their faith present, but also representatives of governments and other types of organizations participated in the event. He described it as promising that while previous meetings resulted mainly in declarations,
there is now hope for comprehensive and tangible action.
He added that, during the summit, the Hungarian delegation contributed to the dialogue by presenting Hungary’s own example. This included showcasing the work of the State Secretariat, operating since 2016, and the Hungary Helps programme, positioning development policy in the defence of religious freedom. The State Secretary mentioned his participation in several political meetings in the US capital, where he engaged with important figures, including congressional representatives and senators.
Based on his experiences, he expressed that Hungary and the Hungarian government share almost completely common views with the American right, conservative individuals, and organizations that embrace Christian values. He identified the renewed importance of the fight against anti-Semitism, something Hungarian and American conservatives also agree about, in response to the resurgence of violent anti-Semitism in the Western world and the United States following the events in Gaza.
Tristan Azbej added that during his meetings, he received recognition from his negotiating partners for Hungary’s efforts in protecting Christians, its steps against anti-Semitism, and its stance and measures in support of families, marriage, and the sanctity of life. He reported attending a grand traditional event, the National Prayer Breakfast, where the organizer highlighted Hungarian family policy and the protection of persecuted Christians in their welcome speech. Among the attendees were numerous congressional representatives and senators, including Mike Johnson, the President of the United States House of Representatives.
Among his political meetings, Tristan Azbej mentioned the discussion with Republican Senator JD Vance, who had previously expressed support for Hungary on various issues. During this meeting, Vance expressed his appreciation for Hungary’s steps in protecting persecuted Christians and voiced agreement with Hungary’s peace-oriented position in the conflict in Ukraine.
The International Religious Freedom Summit took place on Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington, with the opening event hosted at the Embassy of Hungary.
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Sources: Hungarian Conservative/KKM/MTI