Initiated by Hungarian homeless advocacy group The City is for All, local groups in 9 countries are organizing solidarity events to protest against the criminalization of homelessness in Hungary. The persecution of homeless people is in violation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In defiance of the decision of the Hungarian Constitutional Court as well as extensive domestic protests, the governing party enacted a new legislation that criminalizes homelessness in Hungary in the fall of 2013. Punitive measures against homeless people were denounced by the Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations, and international non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and FEANTSA. In January, 2014 the European Parliament called on Member States to immediately put an end to the criminalization of homeless people. The resolution also stressed the importance of the right to housing, and urged Member States to develop social and affordable housing for those in need.
Besides the extensive and continuous domestic opposition, there has earlier been international grassroots protest against the criminalization of homelessness in Hungary in Cluj-Napoca, Prague, Bangkok and London. This week local groups in 9 further cities will stage protests in front of Hungarian embassies and consulates: on February 13 in Essen, Vienna, and Lisbon, on February 14 in Dublin, Paris, New York, Brussels and Istanbul, and on February 15 in London. In Budapest, The City is for All is organizing a protest on the February 22.
Note: The members of The City is for All are homeless and formerly homeless people, those struggling with housing problems and their allies, who all work together for an egalitarian and just society. Our group is based on voluntary work and homeless people play a leading role at all levels of our organization.
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