By BosNewsLife News Center with BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (BosNewsLife)-- Hungary's foreign minister says his country has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the "brutal actions" committed against Christians by the Islamic State group.
Minister Péter Szijjártó said it was crucial for the Netherlands-based ICC to "prosecute the perpetrators" of the anti-Christian violence "with rigour".
Islamic State militants have been beheading Christians, including at least 21 Egyptian Copts last month in Libya, after they refused to abandon their faith in Jesus Christ.
Szijjártó's remarks came while concerns remained Tuesday, March 3, over more than 200 Christians abducted in Syria last week, the latest in a series of known kidnappings by the group.
The minister said he spoke this week of Hungary's concerns about the crackdown on Christians during a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"Hungary urges the international community to enhance actions to ensure that the fight against the Islamic State will be successful," Szijjártó added in a statement. He said the government requested Parliament to consider "increasing Hungary’s contribution" to the international coalition against Islamic State militants.
He said his center-right government also donated 70,000 euro ($77,000) to support persecuted Christians in the Middle East and 510,000 euro ($562,000) for improving the plight of Syrian refugees, including Christians.
During Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s recent visit to Budapest, Hungary's government also donated water treatment equipment to a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey, the minister explained.
Hungary has come under pressure over its perceived harsh crackdown on refugees.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said his nation needs new, tougher rules allowing for the detention and expulsion of illegal migrants, otherwise Hungary would "turn into a refugee camp."
Hungarian authorities say tens of thousands of immigrants — mostly Kosovo Albanians but also Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis and others — have passed through Serbia and into European Union member Hungary, a gateway into the 28-nation bloc. However Szijjártó said that "if refugees persecuted for reasons of religion, political opinions or race arrive in Hungary, the country can provide shelter for them".
Hungary supports EU development programs aimed at improving economies in countries located either in the Western Balkans, Africa or the Middle East "so they can reach a level where people do not feel the urge to emigrate," for economic reasons the minister added.
He said Hungary, a former Communist-run nation, wants to apply for United Nations Human Rights Council membership in the 2017-2019 period, after holding that position in 2010-2012.
However critics say Hungary has its own human rights issues, ranging from harsh treatment of detained asylum seekers and measures seen as threatening the independence of media, the judiciary, rights groups, central bank and even churches.
Orbán has denied wrongdoing, saying he wants to abandon liberal democracy in favor of an “illiberal state,” citing Russia, Turkey and China as among "successful" examples.