By ACN staff
Briefing for our Donors
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT on Nov. 30, 2017 held its first-ever public hearing on the global persecution of Christians. Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) was invited to provide factual background information as contained in the 2017 edition of “Persecuted and Forgotten?,” a biennial report Christian persecution around the world.
Marcela Szymanski of Aid to the Church in Need EU Office provided a summary of the report’s main findings, along with a review of case studies. The report elicited considerable interest especially among those political leaders who had not been particularly aware that Christian persecution is so acute in countries like India, China and Nigeria.
With many of the preceding speakers having described a dark picture of the growing global persecution of Christians, Ms. Szymanski also provided some positive case studies, notably an update on the Nineveh Reconstruction Project—the major effort by Aid to the Church in Need to rebuild Christian homes, churches and religious institutions in northern Iraq following their devastation by ISIS. The Nineveh initiative was hailed by the parliamentarians as a concrete and positive example of how to help persecuted Christians return to their homes and in so doing help retain the plurality of Iraqi society.
The UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion, Ahmed Shaheed, reported that in the coming months the UN will consider the situation of Christians in Indonesia, Pakistan and the north of Africa. Jan Figel, the EU Special Envoy, revealed that he is working with his colleagues in urging them emphasize in their contacts with countries where persecution occurs that the most important concept to defend is “citizenship” as a guarantee of equality for all regardless of their faith and ethnic background.