Intervention by H.E. Ambassador Katalin Annamária Bogyay Permanent Representative at the High-Level Conversation on Religions for Peace, on 6 May 2016.
Mr. President, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to thank the President of the General Assembly for convening today’s High-Level Conversation on Religions for Peace. Let me also thank the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the Permanent Missions of Kazakhstan and Jordan for contributing to this event.
Hungary is deeply committed to the promotion of freedom of religion and belief. Hungary became a Christian state in 1000. The Edict of Torda, adopted in 1568 in in the Kingdom of Hungary and also known as the Patent of Toleration, was an early attempt in Europe to guarantee religious freedom, inspired by the Hungarian Unitarian minister Ferenc Dávid. Today, the Fundamental Law of Hungary affirms „we value the various religious traditions of our country.” The recognition of freedom of religion and belief is an essential component of peaceful and democratic societies.
We believe that religions play an integral role in promoting peaceful coexistence. Despite their many differences, every major religion strives for peace and they all share the fundamental messages of humanity and compassion.
We strongly support efforts made around the world for better understanding among religions. The Hungarian Government and consider inter-religious dialogue an issue of high priority. We assist this process by facilitating dialogue among various churches, such as promoting contacts between smaller religious communities in Hungary (Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim) and the representatives of more traditional and historical churches (Christian and Jewish denominations). We organize an annual inter-religious conference in Hungary, which has originally served as a platform for Christian-Jewish dialogue; but over time has expanded to include representatives of other religious communities as well.
We also believe that religion is an integral part of culture. That is why we have to stress the crucial role of intercultural dialogue and the promotion of a culture of peace.
Hungary is deeply concerned about the recent rise of barbaric attacks committed by violent extremist groups against religious minorities, including Christians and minorities of other faiths. The protection of these persecuted religious communities in the Middle East is a topic of great concern for our Government. My Government has recently adopted a decision to support Christian families and other persecuted families belonging to different religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East.
We need to address the underlying causes of violent extremism by building inclusive societies, where peaceful dialogue of faiths is protected, and vulnerable groups are empowered. In order to effectively counter the threat of radicalization, we must tackle the socioeconomic root causes that often leave young people marginalized and susceptible to violent extremists.
In this context, I strongly believe that education and awareness-raising must be a priority in our efforts to combat radicalization and intolerance, break down stereotypes,
build trust and mutual respect and promote peaceful coexistence in societies with diverse cultural and religious communities. Faith-based organizations and religious leaders should play an important role in providing education for children and youth which is aimed at promoting the values of understanding, peace and tolerance by encouraging an open and respectful exchange of views among individuals with different cultural or religious backgrounds.
Thank you, Mr. President.