BREAKING NEWS Police: At least 11 wounded in mass shooting at Grenada biker club Full Story

Hungary's constitution makes street homelessness a crime

Hungary's constitution now says sleeping on the streets is a crime.The new provision, which went into...

Posted: Oct 15, 2018 2:30 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2018 2:30 PM

Hungary's constitution now says sleeping on the streets is a crime.

The new provision, which went into effect Monday, bans "habitual residence in a public space" and gives police the authority to remove rough sleepers from the streets and confiscate their belongings.

Continents and regions

Eastern Europe

Europe

Homelessness

Hungary

Poverty and homelessness

Social and economic status

Social assistance and welfare

Societal issues

Society

Under amended Article 22 of the revised constitution, homeless people who refuse to go to shelters will be forced to participate in public work programs, which they can avoid only by paying a fine. If they are unable to pay those fines, they will face time in prison.

The minister of state for social affairs and inclusion, Attila Fülöp, said Saturday that the law "serves the interest of society as a whole" and that there were "sufficient places in the institutions that provide care for the homeless."

But critics say the law is part of Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban's latest crackdown on some of the country's most vulnerable people.

When the legislation was first passed in parliament in June, the United Nations special rapporteur on adequate housing, Leilani Farha, said it raised "concerns of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment against homeless people and persons without housing," and said the government "has treated those without homes as criminals."

Farha added that there were insufficient emergency shelter spaces to accommodate Hungary's homeless population, estimated at more than 10,000 people.

According to a recent survey by the FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless, out of 10,206 homeless people surveyed in 2016, around a third were sleeping rough.

Some homeless people say they prefer to sleep on the street over a space in one of the country's homeless shelters, citing overcrowding, lack of quality services and accessibility issues as driving factors, according to data provided to FEANSTA by Hungarian social workers and nongovernmental organizations who work with the homeless.

Those workers say the law effectively criminalizes homelessness and underscores their ability to establish trust with their clients and to assist with long-term solutions. Instead, they will be forced to implement the government's policy of policing homeless people off the street.

In a letter to Hungary's Vice President Frans Timmermans Monday, FEANTSA Director Freek Spinnewijn said:

"While Orbán's regime campaigns against non-governmental organizations to discourage them from voicing their discontent, organizations supporting homeless people and homeless providers with street social workers in Hungary will be required to become an actor in the actual implementation of the criminal act."

"This conflicts with their social work ethos which is based on voluntary acceptance of assistance by the clients. Social workers should not be forced to abandon their role as promoters of the social integration of vulnerable citizens. Their responsibilities should be kept clear as providers, not as enforcers of the criminal act."

This is not the first time that the Hungarian government has used the law to crack down on the homeless.

In 2013, the government first adopted a law that made sleeping in a public place a criminal offense and allowed for police to fine those who do so. That 2013 law passed after a law that criminalized homelessness was reversed by Hungary's Constitutional Court on the ground that it violated the right to human dignity in 2012.

Hungary's government has said that there are currently 19,000 shelter places for the homeless and that the country will spend 9.1 billion Hungarian forints (approximately $32.6 million) on "helping the needy" this year.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 149940

Reported Deaths: 3779
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10097104
Hinds9984199
Harrison7116110
Jackson6360119
Rankin5588103
Lee509195
Madison4799106
Forrest383186
Jones357688
Lauderdale3496147
Lafayette326051
Washington3179107
Lamar291550
Oktibbeha245462
Bolivar241384
Lowndes237364
Panola222350
Neshoba2206118
Marshall217250
Leflore205590
Pontotoc199928
Monroe198177
Sunflower191655
Lincoln190865
Warren176857
Tate169851
Union167325
Copiah164140
Pike162658
Yazoo156039
Scott154829
Itawamba152935
Pearl River152167
Alcorn151328
Coahoma150543
Simpson148353
Prentiss146230
Adams141950
Grenada140945
Leake134944
Holmes130861
George125524
Tippah125230
Covington123439
Winston122224
Hancock121139
Wayne117923
Marion116646
Attala113034
Tishomingo109442
Chickasaw107632
Newton105629
Tallahatchie97027
Clay91327
Clarke90553
Jasper82822
Stone77014
Walthall76928
Calhoun75513
Montgomery74525
Carroll72415
Lawrence71814
Smith71316
Yalobusha71327
Noxubee71017
Perry67026
Tunica61019
Greene60322
Claiborne58616
Jefferson Davis57017
Amite54014
Humphreys53619
Benton49318
Quitman4927
Webster44314
Kemper43618
Wilkinson39822
Jefferson35211
Franklin3395
Choctaw3357
Sharkey30917
Issaquena1164
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
Calhoun6301119
Etowah627666
Marshall627255
Houston525638
DeKalb485536
Cullman439442
Limestone425145
St. Clair419555
Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
Talladega351454
Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 50°
Columbus
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 52°
Oxford
Scattered Clouds
48° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 45°
Starkville
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 48°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather