11/03/2020 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – The government of Hungary and International Christian Concern will be hosting a virtual side event for the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom on November 16, at 9:00 a.m. EST entitled: The Nexus of Persecution and Humanitarian Aid. The event is designed to explore the complexities, components, and commonalities covering the nexus of international religious freedom and humanitarian aid.
Religious freedom is a fundamental human right, and when violated through persecution, it is often coupled with dire humanitarian need. Many Western governments resist the crossover of humanitarian aid with the advancement of religious liberty, while evidence shows that regions where religious minorities, especially Christians, are regularly suppressed and discriminated against, often endure extreme human hardship due to a lack of access to food, healthcare, education, and more simply because of their religious identity. This nexus manifests dynamically in the day-to-day life of the persecuted individual.
Ongoing persecution perpetrated at all levels of society, from communal levels through civil society to governmental efforts, takes even more pronounced form in genocide and targeted violent attacks, societal marginalization, economic and political disempowerment, and blatant institutional discrimination. Each year, more light is shed on this ongoing persecution and repression of Christians throughout the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and elsewhere. Incidents ranging from communal violence to government and legal edicts continue to restrict not only religious liberty, but also the ability of Christians to advance in society.
This event will reveal the deeper complexities of this nexus and provide examples of successful case studies where humanitarian aid implementation efforts have saved entire persecuted Christian communities, restored their livelihoods, and expanded their ability to navigate in society. The event will specifically highlight how this nexus has been a successful model in Nigeria, where atrocities committed by terrorist groups have eroded the Christian community’s livelihood over the years and humanitarian aid has been especially successful in restoring communities to full functional capability. Further, the event will reveal how limitations on religious freedom create direct voids where only humanitarian aid and direct assistance can mitigate emerging societal injustices. While transformation in societies that persecute Christians is most desired, the practical needs of the persecuted must be met in the meantime.
This event will include keynote remarks from:
Tristan Azbej, State Secretary, Government of Hungary
Ambassador Sam Brownback, US Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom (invited)
Samah Norquist, Chief Advisor for International Religious Freedom to the Administrator for USAID
Jeff King, President of International Christian Concern
Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto, Nigeria
David Anderson, Former Member of Canadian Parliament
Todd Chasteen, Vice President of Public Policy and General Counsel at Samaritan’s Purse
This event will also include a panel discussion with Baroness Caroline Cox, CEO of Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, and Ewelina U. Ochab, Advocate at the Coalition for Genocide Response.