“The international community must also take action in Syria in the interests of stopping the persecution of Christians, and must help the communities that have been living in the region for a thousand years to ensure that their displaced groups can return home”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday in New York at an event held on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, organised by the European Union to facilitate political solutions to the Syrian conflict.

Speaking at the debate, the Minister took exception to the fact that little notice is taken of the issue, and said the approach that suggests that anti-Christian hatred is the last acceptable form of discrimination is unacceptable.

He highlighted the fact that four fifths of people around the world who are persecuted because of their faith are Christian, adding that in his opinion in the Middle East and particularly in Syria there is a real danger of Christians being totally driven out, despite the fact that they have been living there for a thousand years.

Mr. Szijjártó explained that Hungary feels it has a responsibility to protect persecuted Christian communities. The Government has even established a separate state secretariat with the sole task of monitoring the fate and situation of Christian communities around the world that require assistance. The Cabinet has earmarked a budget of 15 million euros to help rebuild the destroyed houses and schools of persecuted Christians, and to support the reinforcement of their communities. In Syria, for example, Hungary has provided millions of euros in aid to help the Greek Catholic Church and Orthodox Church in Aleppo, he continued.

“Everything possible must be done to ensure that Christians who have been displaced from their homes can return, and the UN and other international organisations must play a role in guaranteeing this”, Mr. Szijjártó pointed out.

The main topics of the event in New York were maintaining international humanitarian aid and providing funding for countries that are currently sheltering Syrian refugees, particularly Jordan and Lebanon.