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Government official: Hungary, Italy mulling cooperation to aid persecuted Christians

The most effective and humanitarian course of action in crisis regions is to give people an opportunity to stay in their homeland or return there, the state secretary for aiding persecuted Christians told a conference in Vatican City where he presented achievements of the Hungary Helps programme and met Italian officials.

On the sidelines of the conference, Tristan Azbej met Davide Dionisi, the Italian special envoy for the protection of religious freedom, and highlighted the commitment of Italy and Hungary to ensuring religious freedom.

“The world often fails to see that Christians are the largest group among those persecuted for their faith,” Azbej said.

Hungary and Italy are mulling cooperation to explore possibilities to represent the issue jointly, as well as the most effective way to help persecuted communities in Africa, the Middle East and other places through humanitarian and development programmes, he said.

Since its inception in 2016, the Hungary Helps programme has helped some 1.5 million people through 300 programmes in 50 countries of the world, Azbej, who also heads the scheme, said.

Some 300 million people are suffering persecution for their Christian faith worldwide, Azbej said. One in five Christians is persecuted in Africa, he said. Fully 89 percent of the Christians killed for their faith last year, 5,000 people, were killed in Nigeria, he added.

Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu of Nigeria, the secretary of the Section of First Evangelization of the Dicastery for Evangelization, thanked Hungary for aiding Christians worldwide. Hungary is contributing to the improvement of ties between Africa and the West, he said.

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