Protecting persecuted Christians is our moral obligation, a cause which we must stand up for also on the international scene, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said on Thursday, on the last day of the international conference on Christian persecution, held in Budapest.

Gergely Gulyás highlighted that in the 21st century “we will have the opportunity to stop all forms of Christian persecution, including bloody genocides and various forms of discrimination observed in Europe ever more frequently”.

However, in order to succeed we need renewal both in public life and in academic life “so that we have the strength, courage and wisdom to stand up” for the persecuted, the Minister said.

He added that “we must return to free dialogue with everyone with good intentions”; people who believe that Christianity, human rights and freedom of conscience are important.

He pointed out that we also need renewal in religion. He said Europe has been “a missionary territory” for a long time, and “it seems that we are severing our Christian roots step by step”.

“We believe that this process is not irreversible,” he said.

Mr Gulyás further pointed out that in recent years Hungary has attempted to take the first steps for persecuted Christians.

The Hungary Helps Programme relies on people on the ground; in contrast to the prevalent international aid practice “we ourselves take help to the needy” as it is better if the people concerned who are in a difficult situation tell us what they need and if we channel assistance to them directly, the Minister said.

“With this knowledge on the ground we can contribute to restarting the lives of entire communities,” not only with money, or schools and hospitals built or rebuilt from money, “but also with the hope that they can count on others,” Mr Gulyás added.

At the conference, Lóránd Újházi, senior lecturer of the National University of Public Service introduced the book Budapest Report on Christian Persecution 2019.

He said the report compiled for the third time seeks to serve as a bridge between persecuted Christian communities, researchers of the topic and wider strata of society.

The four chapters of the book discuss general security policy issues in defence of Christians, legislative processes aimed at providing protection for Christians, the role of religious communities, and the methodological criteria used for investigating the topic, the editor of the publication said.

Writings in the first chapter provide a summary of violent acts recently committed against Christians, describing methods of Islamic State and Boko Haram. There are separate studies dedicated to the situation of Christians in Northern Iraq, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Africa, and more specifically Nigeria. The chapter also introduces the Hungary Helps Programme.

The chapter concerned with legislation offers an overview of legal issues regarding persecuted Christians in Hungary, the United States, the United Kingdom and France, while a separate study is dedicated to the cooperation of the Visegrád Four in defence of Christians.

The last two chapters explore, among others, the role churches play, the importance of ecumenical cooperation, the role of the Christian intelligentsia, and research methodology issues.