By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News reporting from Budapest
BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Hungary and Brazil have agreed to increase cooperation on protecting persecuted Christians as part of broader efforts to prevent massive migration.
Hungarian fiercely anti-migration Prime Minister Viktor Orbán commented Thursday after talks with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro in Budapest.
Orbán said Hungary and Brazil consider it “absurd” that Christianity “is the most persecuted religion” in the world today.
The announcement came while advocacy group Open Doors revealed that a record-breaking 360 million Christians experienced persecution in 2021, a rise of 100 million in two years.
“The civilization born out of Christian roots, primarily European civilization, does very little to protect those being persecuted for their faith,” Orbán stressed.
He added that Hungary and Brazil had signed an agreement to help persecuted Christian communities in Africa jointly.
Separately, President Bolsonaro said earlier he was keeping abreast of another “tragedy” unfolding in his nation: rescue workers were racing against time after devastating flash floods and landslides killed at least 105 people.
The death toll of the mudslides hitting the picturesque Brazilian city of Petropolis was due to rise as streets were turned into rivers and houses swept away.
Witnesses said the heavy storms dumped a month’s worth of rain in three hours on the scenic tourist town in the hills north of Rio de Janeiro.
“Thank you for your words of solidarity with the people of Petropolis,” he told President Vladimir Putin after meeting with the Russian leader before traveling to Budapest.
In Hungary, the Brazilian president also discussed migration as the country has the world’s first government agency for supporting persecuted Christians. Hungary wants to prevent massive migration into Europe by helping people in need, such as persecuted Christians in their own countries or nearby nations.
Orbán accused influential international groups of adopting documents depicting migration as a positive phenomenon. “There are countries — we call them the coalition of the sober — that don’t want the world to change as a result of migration,” he added.
Orbán referred to people fleeing war, persecution, and poverty who are often of a Muslim background.
Yet with Christians now being the most persecuted community globally, Hungary also expects more Christian refugees. Orbán’s right-wing government has made it clear however it wants to help Christians in their troubled nations through the Hungary Helps program.
Orbán claimed that Hungary and Brazil were the two countries to prevent the passage of the United Nations’ global migration compact. He added that the European Union was now debating a similar agreement, leading to tensions between Brussels and Budapest.
“We will thwart the implementation of any recommended or mandatory regulations on migration in the same way at the European level,” he said.
The prime minister said Hungary and Brazil had agreed on a joint “early warning system” to alert each other on migration-related issues against their interests. The warning system will allow the two countries to cooperate on preventing the adoption of such documents, Orbán explained.
Yet the cooperation between Prime Minister Orbán and Brazilian President Bolsonaro remarks controversial.
Orbán was the only European Union leader to attend the inauguration of Bolsonaro.
The Brazilian leader was criticized by the EU over perceived autocratic policies and allowing the massive deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, which last year hit its highest level in over 15 years.
However, Orbán made clear the two share similar views, especially regarding persecuted Christians, migration, and traditional family policies.
They apparently agreed to disagree on Coronavirus vaccines, with Orbán supporting COVID-19 jabs while Bolsonaro is skeptical.
Yet, since the two countries’ leaders share very similar approaches to global politics, “this exceptional political understanding” should be used to achieve mutual economic benefits, added Hungarian Foreign Minister Szijjártó.
Bolsonaro is among several right-wing populist leaders to meet Orbán, who faces a tough parliamentary election on April 3.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump is among others expected in Hungary.
The country hosts the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual key event of the U.S. Republican party, on March 25-26. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will be a keynote speaker, organizers said.
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