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The struggle for the right to religious freedom was called the most important human rights struggle of our time by speakers at the opening of this year’s International Religious Freedom Summit, held at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington on Monday.

In an interview at the event, Tristan Azbej, Secretary of State for Programs to Help Persecuted Christians at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the fact that the Hungarian Embassy in Washington hosted the opening of the major international conference was not only an opportunity, but also an appreciation of the work that the Hungarian government and Hungary are doing in this field.

Tristan Azbej. Photo Facebook / Hungary Helps

During his opening speech, Mr. Azbej discussed Hungary’s recent achievements in aiding persecuted Christians and religious communities globally, including support in Nigeria, Nicaragua, and assistance for the Yazidi community in Iraq.

He highlighted the essence of the Hungary Helps program, emphasizing local and direct aid to communities.


The Hungary Helps Program is a specific national model that strengthens international humanitarian engagement in light of the fact that the Hungarian government’s migration and humanitarian policies go hand in hand. In 2016, Hungary became the first country to launch such an initiative. Through the program, Hungary is helping people in need not to have to leave their home country, and if possible, to return to it. Through humanitarian aid provided under the Hungary Helps Program, the government has so far helped half a million people to stay in or return to their home country. The program also aims to help persecuted Christians around the world, especially in the Middle East.

Embassy of Hungary in Washington DC. Photo: Facebook

Katrina Lantos, co-chair of the International Religious Freedom Summit and daughter of the late Hungarian-born US Congressman Tom Lantos, commended Hungary for ‘setting the pace’ in supporting persecuted religious communities through both words and actions.

She reiterated that the fight for religious freedom is a fight for the ‘most fundamental human right.’

Samuel Brownback, former U.S. Ambassador on Special Duty for International Religious Freedom, noted the summit’s expansion, bringing together the highest-ranking participants ever, and announced that the three-day conference would feature an address by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mike Johnson.

Bishop Wilfred Anagbe from Nigeria emphasized everyone’s right to practice their religion and faith, describing Hungary as a leader in the fight for persecuted Christians.

Hungarian Ambassador Szabolcs Takács stressed the importance of treating all religions equally, asserting that no religion should be above another. He highlighted Hungary’s rich Christian history and its understanding of the value of the right to religious freedom.

The first International Religious Freedom Summit was held in Washington in 2021. For three days, this year’s event will bring together NGO and religious leaders, as well as politicians from the United States and around the world to discuss the protection of the right to religious freedom.

Christian Communities Facing Increased Persecution in 2024
Christian Communities Facing Increased Persecution in 2024

Between October 2022 and September 2023, almost 5,000 Christians were killed for practicing their faith.Continue reading

Via MTI; Featured Image: Pixabay

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