What does a public space mean? Currently, public spaces such as ports, parks, shores, squares, green areas, shortly spaces that should be open to the free access of the public have been commercialized, privatized by central and/or local governments which no longer act to manage but to sell their cities just like entrepreneurs. Wilderness, mountains, water and air that used to be our common home before the civilization loomed over us, are today usurped by global capital hand in hand with collaborationist states We are charged for setting our feet in the forest, we are charged when drinking water .The legalised racketeering gangs and the internalised violence organised as the police and the army constitute what is called the state. Those powers that practice usurpation and seizure, criminalize the residents of occupation settlements, the homeless, the children forced to work on the street, the people forced to migrate, the squatter-builder in need, as ‘’thieves, terrorists and inferiors’’ who in fact try to reclaim what is already theirs. Acquiring private property and closing its door against the outsiders are viewed as ways of being superior.
The human rights organizations in Hungary have been calling for emergency since 2010. The policies of the right-wing leader Victor Orban who came to power is compared to Vladmir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan by the The Guardian. The constitutional rights in Hungary have been suspended during the last four years, the unions are curtailed, the media has been forced to seek ratification from the government, the migrants have been taken to detention camps, the disabled funds have been cut down. The legislation enacted against the homeless in 2012 is the final step towards a totalitarian regime. Today, according to this Law, the homeless people in Budapest have to to pay fines if any of their belongings are found as proof of living on the street ; what is more they are under threat of being imprisoned if they cannot pay the charge or do not accept workfare . Historical sites and main squares are being closed to the homeless; they are being exiled from city centres, a shame to humanity! Through these mechanisms of outright criminalization and discrimination, the blame is placed upon those people who, due to unaffordable housing stock, have no option but to live on the streets while the state’s obligation to provide adequate housing for its citizens without any discrimination goes unnoticed! It is estimated that there are at least fifteen thousand homeless people only in Budapest, while the capacity of shelters for the homeless remains six thousand.
In the neoliberal city branding itself for sale, in this city of the spectacle, thus in a city solely catering to the needs and desires of the upper class, it is no wonder that the homeless are stigmatized as the ‘’ugly’’ and ‘’unwanted’’while Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are grossly violated!
13-15th February are days of worldwide solidarity with the Hungarian homeless. We, as Turkish activists and human rights defenders, in solidarity with people all over the globe will be in front of the Hungarian consulate , voicing our demands here from Istanbul for a just and equitable world while renouncing the Hungarian government’s racist legislature and mechanisms akin to an apartheid regime on socio-economic lines. We request the Hungarian Government to stop all persecutions against the homeless.
The democratic city with its streets, squares, historic sites and public spaces is for all of its citizens, irrespective of their social and economic conditions. We reject decisions taken without our consent, decisions that stipulate where we are supposed to be. We declare to the world that that the system and its totalitarian authorities and prime ministers who administer it are the guilty not the homeless. We denounce Hungary for providing jails instead of housing for people in need. Immediate release for people who could or would be detained on grounds of homelessness!
From Istanbul to Budapest, we send our solidarity and support to our homeless comrades. Their struggle is ours.