BUDAPEST/VIENNA – Today, 11 October, government officials, religious community leaders and non-governmental organisations will meet in Budapest to discuss opportunities to increase collaboration to end religious persecution. Sponsored by the Hungarian government, the conference called International Consultation on Christian Persecution starts today and will continue to 13 October.
Under the theme Finding the Appropriate Answers to a Long Neglected Crisis, the meeting will promote opportunities for state-funded organisations, NGOs and governments to partner together to defend the right to freedom of religion. Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International, will chair an expert panel examining information exchange and opportunities for increased cooperation between government and non-government agencies.
“ADF International is honoured to be part of this important initiative. Our team works tirelessly to advocate for the rights of persecuted religious communities. In the Middle East, ISIS has deliberately targeted Christian communities for destruction. We went to Beirut, Amman and Erbil to meet with Christian refugees from Iraq. We spoke with them, cried with them, prayed with them. We documented their testimonies, and provided this evidence to those in power. Successive governments and recently even the United Nations are recognising that ISIS is committing genocide. We are pleased to be part of the vital evidence gathering process,” said Coleman in the lead-up to the conference.
Promoting freedom of religion
The panel Coleman moderates will meet at 2 p.m. on Thursday, 12 October, and will consist of Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus and Rev. Fr. Imre Kozma, founder of the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta.
To further the work of governments, state-funded organisations and NGOs, participants will develop for government consideration a resolution outlining strategies for increased cooperation in the fight against religious persecution.
“ADF International is proud to work with governments as they seek ways to effectively uphold human rights. Both state actors and NGOs are committed to ending religious persecution. Together we can ensure that everyone can freely live out their faith in the future,” said Coleman.
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