International Religious Freedom Conference was opened at the Hungarian embassy
The speakers on Monday in Washington at the opening of this year's International Religious Freedom Summit, held at the Hungarian embassy, called the fight for the right to religious freedom the most important human rights struggle of our time.
Tristan Azbej, Hungarian State Secretary responsible for aiding persecuted Christians, emphasized that the fact that the Hungarian embassy in Washington hosted the opening of the major international conference is not only an opportunity but also a recognition of the work done by the Hungarian government and Hungary in this field. In his opening speech, among other things, he reported on the recent achievements of Hungarian efforts in aiding persecuted Christians and other religious communities. He highlighted aid to Nigeria and Nicaragua, as well as new support for the Yazidi community in Iraq. He pointed out that the essence of the Hungary Helps program is to deliver aid on-site and directly to local communities.
Katrina Lantos, co-chair of the International Religious Freedom Summit and daughter of the late Hungarian-born member of the U.S. Congress, Tom Lantos, stated that Hungary “sets the pace” in aiding persecuted religious communities, which is evident not just in words but also in actions. She added that the fight for religious freedom represents a battle for the “most fundamental human right.”
Samuel Brownback, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, noted that the summit has become more extensive, gathering the highest-ranking participants so far, and announced that Mike Johnson, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, would speak at the three-day event.
Bishop Wilfred Anagbe from Nigeria emphasized that every person has the right to practice their own religion and faith, and described Hungary as a front-runner in the fight for the interests of persecuted Christians.
As the host of the event at the Hungarian embassy, Szabolcs Takács, Ambassador of Hungary, pointed out that no religion should stand above another, and every religion should be welcomed as long as it does not pose a threat to the followers of other faiths. The diplomat stressed that the Hungarian nation is bound by a thousand-year Christian history and has learned how history can sweep away deeply rooted religious values. Therefore, today it understands the value of the right to religious freedom.
The International Religious Freedom Summit was first organized in Washington in 2021. This year’s event, held over three days, features discussions on the protection of religious freedom rights by leaders of civil organizations, religious leaders, and politicians from the United States and various countries around the world. Several American universities are also represented at the event and organize accompanying events.