A Hungarian Christian Democrat member of the European Parliament has warned that growing secularism is to blame for Europe’s silence on human rights violations against religious minorities.
As the parliament debated the 2019 human rights annual report, György Hölvényi MEP insisted that “if Europe, guided by extreme secularism, is silent on violations against religious minorities, it commits complicity in the persecution and death of millions of people around the world”.
The EPP Group politician – the same bloc as Fine Gael – insisted that “we can assess as a substantial progress that the discrimination and persecution of religious minorities receive special attention in the report.
“It is also a result of the persistent work of several of my fellow colleagues that we have come this far. However, there are unfortunately differences between the report and the reality as well.”
Mr Hölvényi warned that it is long-time experience that EU does not put enough pressure on governments that violate religious freedom in the world. Therefore, he said, repressive regimes simply see the EU attitude as a consent. As a result, the governments concerned are free to continue violations, including against religious minorities.
“What needs to be done is clear: Europe must be strong and consistent. EU diplomacy must speak up whenever possible to protect persons and communities persecuted for their religious beliefs, both bilaterally and multilaterally,” he said.
He said that “for Europe, taking action to protect persecuted Christians is not only a religious but a human rights issue. Persecuted communities and strangely also their persecutors, simply see Europe as their potential main supporter worldwide, the carrier of the Christian heritage.”