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Hungary calls for ‘administrative zones’ to keep Christians safe in Middle East

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó has called for “administrative zones” in the Middle East, so Christian asylum seekers may safely return to the region.

Published: March 4, 2017, 6:31 pm

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    Hungary has made the protection of Christians one of its top priorities, with Szijjártó noting in November 2016 that “anti-Christianity [has become] the last acceptable form of discrimination in the world”.

    The Fidesz politician was speaking to the 34th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC). Hungary was elected to serve on the HRC for a 2017-19 term in November 2016.

    “Terrible crimes are committed against Christian communities in many places around the world. Tens and hundreds of thousands of people are being driven from their homes, and there are Christian communities that have been totally eradicated,” he said.

    “For some reason the world, and especially the Western world, approaches the issue of anti-Christian sentiment in a very hypocritical way … as if a hatred of Christians was the mildest form of negative discrimination.

    “We regard this as totally unacceptable. If we look at the related statements by international organisations, they hardly include the fact that the protection of Christian communities must be maintained. … This approach must be changed. The protection of Christian communities throughout the world must be taken seriously,” he said.

    “Accordingly, Hungary is proposing two things: firstly, the International Criminal Court (ICC) must be called upon to not leave unpunished any crime that is committed anywhere in the world against Christians. We must put an end to the application of double standards. Secondly, international communities must assure the right of Middle Eastern Christian communities to return to their homes following the end of the conflict from which they have fled once the area is fully liberated.

    “Unfortunately, in our experience Christian communities that have been driven from their homes are unable to return home and are often not allowed to return for security reasons, not even if their home region has been fully liberated. For this reason, we propose that administrative zones are established in these regions, where these communities are guaranteed freedom and security.

    “The most rational solution would be if these zones were protected by a heavy UN presence.”

    But Szijjártó has complained that other European leaders are not keen on protecting Christians: “For instance, at meetings of the European Union’s foreign ministers, it is very frustrating that when I call for the protection of Christians in the Middle East I am clumsily prompted to speak about the protection of all religious minorities, not just Christians.

    “If I want to talk about Christian communities then I will speak about them, because that is the duty of a Christian country and a Christian Europe. We must not force upon ourselves some kind of false political correctness or hypocrisy.”

    According to The Pew Research Center, over 75 percent of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions, and many of these people are Christians. Also, according to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ.

    According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith. Of the 100-200 million Christians under assault, the majority are persecuted in Muslim-dominated nations.

    Christians suffer numerically more than any other faith groups or groups without faith in the world. Of the world’s three largest religions Christians are the most allegedly persecuted with 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination being directed at Christians who only make up 33 percent of the world’s population.

    In just two years, The Washington Times reported, the number of Americans who think Christians are facing growing intolerance in the US has drastically increased, however. Sixty-three percent of respondents in the LifeWay Research survey said they agree or strongly agree that Christians are facing growing levels of persecution, up from 50 percent in 2013.

    The number of respondents who said they “strongly agree” with the statement, increased from 28 percent to 38 percent. A similar number, 60 percent, said religious liberty is on the decline in America, up from 54 percent in 2013.

    The poll was published March 30 2016 and has an error margin of 3.6 percentage points. It was conducted shortly after the US Supreme Court decision in June striking down state laws defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

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