Rea Maglajlic posts a message from The City is for All, a grassroots group fighting for the right to housing in Hungary. The group is asking for solidarity with and support for Hungarian homeless people in the face of an increasingly difficult situation there. This is the campaign with which social worker Norbert Ferencz has been involved.

 


Dear Friends all over the world,


The City is for All is a grassroots group fighting for the right to housing in Hungary. We are now asking for your solidarity with and support for Hungarian homeless people in the face of an increasingly difficult situation. Some of you may have heard about the sequence of increasingly oppressive actions over the past year against homeless citizens by the local and national government in Hungary. Let us first briefly summarize what has happened in Hungary since December 2010 regarding the repression and criminalization of homeless people.

It all started in December 2010, when the Ministry of Interior effected legal amendments that made it possible for local mayors to punish people for “residing in public places”. Istvan Tarlos, the mayor of Budapest did not wait long to come up with an ordinance that makes “residing in public places” illegal. The fine imposed is €180. In the meantime, Mate Kocsis, mayor of the 8th district forbade rummaging through garbage in the 8th district. Despite the fact that the ombudsperson for civil rights found the Budapest ordinance unconstitutional, hundreds of homeless people have been subjected to short-term arrest by the police in the past months on the grounds of the ordinance, and dozens of self-made homes have been destroyed by the authorities. In September, 2011 the Hungarian Parliament started to discuss the proposal of 13 representatives to amend the Petty Offence Law that would punish “recurrent residing in public places” with an increased fine of €530 or imprisonment.

In this extremely severe situation, when the freedom, dignity and often the lives of homeless people are in danger, The City is for All calls for international solidarity and action. We call on our Friends, to demonstrate your solidarity with Hungarian homeless people by organizing events (discussions, demonstrations, film screenings etc.) that address the criminalization of homelessness. The solidarity event can address your local or national context while reacting to developments in Hungary or organized specifically in solidarity with Hungarian homeless people. If you are up to such an undertaking, please let us know about it, document the event in any form (photo, video, video message, written report etc.) and send it to us by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , so that we can publish it on our blog and demonstrate international support for our campaign.

We have also prepared an online petition against the planned amendment of the Petty Offence Law that would imprison homeless people. Please SIGN IT HERE either on behalf of your organization or as an individual and spread the word!

If you have any question regarding the events to be organized, the documentation, or the campaign itself, please feel free to contact Mariann Dósa, the coordinator of our international campaign via email or telephone: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +44-07-5543-87634, skype: mariann.dosa.

International press about the criminalization of homelessness in Hungary (click the links):

Xpatloop - crackdown in the 8th district of Budapest

Cabooddle - destruction of shacks in the 14th district of Budapest

Budapest Times - destruction of shacks in the 14th district of Budapest

habitants.org - demonstration against the criminalization of homelessness

Thank you for your co-operation!

The City is for All

 

This is the campaign with which social worker Norbert Ferencz has been involved. For more information about the campaign against Norbert's prosecution for challenging these laws follow THIS LINK.

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