“Hungary has joined the International Religious Freedom Alliance, as the first European Union country to do so”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI from Washington on Wednesday.
The organisation was established on the initiative of U.S. President Donald Trump. The founding session of the organisation, at which Hungary was represented by Péter Szijjártó, was chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The Alliance has 27 members.
Following Wednesday’s session, Mr. Szijjártó explained that the persecution of religion and religious groups, and especially of religions that live as a minority, is becoming increasingly common around the world. “This is a phenomenon against which action must be taken. The right to religion is one of the most fundamental human rights, even if the international liberal mainstream is not prepared to accept this”, he said.
“The large international organisations are also prone to turning a blind eye to the persecution of religion and religious groups. This is an unacceptable phenomenon; the rights and opportunities of every single person to freely practice their religion must be assured. Action must be taken in all cases where the rights of individuals, groups or communities to practice their religion are violated”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said.
Mr. Szijjártó told the press that last year Donald Trump had put forward an initiative at the United Nations, as a result of which the International Religious Freedom Alliance has now been founded. Hungary was the first member state of the European Union to indicate its intention to join the Alliance, he said. “Hungary will be playing its role in the work of the new international alliance”, the Minister underlined.
“Hungary does not accept the fact that international organisations are turning a blind eye to action against Christian communities and the persecution of Christian communities”, the politician said, highlighting that Hungary has been a Christian state for over a thousand years, and accordingly feels it has a responsibility towards Christian communities that are suffering persecution.
“Hungary has provided 50 million dollars in aid to such Christian communities in Africa and the Middle East. Churches, houses, hospitals and schools have been reconstructed using this money. Thanks to the funding, sixty thousand people have been able to remain or return home”, he added.
The politician said it is unacceptable that anti-Christianity is being disregarded as the last acceptable form of discrimination in international liberal narrative. “Action must be taken to protect Christian communities that are suffering persecution”, he stated. “As it has done to date, Hungary will continue to raise its voice with relation to this issue, because Hungary regards the right to religious freedom as one of the most fundamental human rights”, he stated, adding that it is most welcome that the world’s number one superpower, the United States and its President, Donald Trump have taken the lead on this issue.
“The United States and the 26 countries that have joined it are strong enough to assure that international action to ensure religious freedom is successful”, Mr. Szijjártó declared.
“We are proud of the fact that Hungary is the first European country to have joined the new international alliance established by the Americans”, he stated.
The Alliance has 27 members: the United States, Albania, Austria, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Columbia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Gambia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Togo, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.