Photo: MTI

Azbej: Austria hails Hungary Helps programme

Austria has hailed the results of Hungary Helps as "exemplary", the government official in charge of the programme said after meeting the Austrian minister for women and integration in Vienna on Monday.

Tristan Azbej, the state secretary for helping persecuted Christians abroad and the Hungary Helps programme, met Susanna Raab, and said the consultation was a part of exchanges of knowledge and experiences between the Austrian and Hungarian governments related to Hungary’s policy of helping persecuted Christians.

Following Hungary’s example, Austria at the start of the year established a special government unit within the Chancellery to help persecuted Christian minorities, and its head made his first foreign visit to Budapest, Azbej noted.

Both sides, he said, held the view that helping people suffering persecution was bound up with European Christian identity, yet within the European Union the issue of religious freedom outside of Europe was rather neglected, and that people in the Western world were trying to keep the issue of Christian persecution quiet.

They also agreed that as well as combatting anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, the international community should protect the rights of persecuted Christians who deserved humanitarian aid.

Both Austria and Hungary will take action against religious persecution within the EU and exchange of information on the number of persecuted Christians in the world, he said.

The countries will also examine possibilities for specific joint assistance programmes, he said, noting that Christian charity Missio Austria aids Christians living in Aleppo, in Syria. The sides plan to raise such cooperation to a higher government level, he added.

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