Persecuted Christian communities in the Middle East and in Africa appreciated the government’s Hungary Helps humanitarian aid programme, the state secretary responsible for aiding persecuted Christians told MTI in Rome on Saturday.
Tristan Azbej is member of a Hungarian delegation led by the prime minister attending the 12th international conference of Catholic legislators in the Italian capital over the weekend.
He told MTI by phone that on Friday he had participated at the papal audience which also attended by Ignatius Aphrem, the Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Azbej noted the patriarch’s appreciation of the support Pope Francis had showed for the Hungarian government’s aid to persecuted Christians.
He said that Hungary’s aid has greatly contributed to the survival of Christians persecuted by the Islamic State or jihadist forces in Syria and Iraq or their return from their journey of migration.
The state secretary called the persecution of Christians “one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world”, affecting 340 million people worldwide. At the same time, international forums mostly “ignore it completely”, he said.
Azbej said that modelled on the Hungarian programme, Poland and Croatia have recently launched similar programmes to aid persecuted Christians in the Middle East. An international working group has also been set up to adapt the Hungarian programme with the aim to provide aid directly to persecuted Christians, he said.