Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now

Rough sleeping banned in Hungary as new homelessness law comes into force

A constitutional amendment approved by the parliament in June banned “habitual residence in a public space”.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Peyker

ROUGH SLEEPING IN Hungary will be banned from today after a homelessness law adopted by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government and called “cruel” by critics comes into force.

A constitutional amendment approved by the Budapest parliament on 20 June banned “habitual residence in a public space”, beefing up a 2013 law that made it a fineable offence.

With police now empowered to remove rough sleepers from streets and dismantle huts and shacks, a government official said on Thursday that the law “serves the interests of society as a whole”. 

Its goal is “to ensure that homeless people are not on the streets at night-time and that citizens can make use of public space unimpeded”, Attila Fulop, social affairs state secretary, told reporters.

An estimated 11,000 places exist in state-run shelters but experts say at least 20,000 people are homeless nationwide.

The government says it is increasing funding for homeless provision but international organisations and rights groups at home have condemned the new law. 

In June, UN housing expert Leilani Farha called it “cruel and incompatible with international human rights law”.

“What is this ‘crime’ (homeless people) have committed? Merely trying to survive,” said Farha in an open letter to the government.

Making a difference

A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article.

Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can make sure we can keep reliable, meaningful news open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

Last month, the European Parliament voted to launch legal action against Budapest after an MEP’s report said, among other things, that Hungary’s treatment of its homeless contributed to a “clear risk of a serious breach” of EU values.

© – AFP 2018

About the author:


Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel