Call for solidarity with homeless people in Hungary


We invite
our friends all over the world to join our struggle against the tragic changes
in the Hungarian legislation concerning homelessness. Our call is desperate in
the sense that, despite all the good reasons and even an opposing
Constitutional Court decision, a last ray of hope is the clear and strong
objection of the international community to the criminalization of

As you may
already know, the Hungarian government has taken a series of oppressive actions
against homeless people over the past three years. These ordinances, laws and
local actions seriously violate the dignity of thousands of citizens living in
poverty. While hardly taking any positive and sustainable measures to ensure
the social rights of Hungary’s most vulnerable citizens, the government’s
approach to poverty and homelessness has been predominantly punitive.

In November
2012, the Constitutional Court struck down a law that criminalized street
homelessness, arguing that the state should address homelessness as a social and
not a criminal issue. In response, the governing party decided to change the
Constitution itself, enabling local governments to punish “habitual residence
in public spaces” and define further “antisocial” behaviors.

the Hungarian Parliament is once again debating the modification of the Penal
Code that would define street homelessness an infraction punishable by fine,
community service or jail (for “repeat offenders”). In this way, the government
is ignoring the serious criticism that has come from the Commissioner for Civil
Rights, the Catholic community of Sant’Egidio, FEANTSA (the European umbrella
organization of homeless service providers) and two special rapporteurs of the
UN, among many others.

In addition
to penalizing street homeless, the new law introduces a new element by
criminalizing the building of shacks in public places. Today, self-built shacks
provide a home for thousands of people in Hungary. If the law is passed, their
very existence will become a crime.

We, homeless
and ally members of The City is for All are asking you to help us stop this
inhumane piece of legislation and express your solidarity with homeless people
in Hungary. We suggest two ways of doing so:

– Please send
a brief letter to the Hungarian Minister of Interior
, Sándor Pintér, who
submitted the modification and ask him to withdraw the legislation. His address
is: (please cc us in your email:

– If your
time and resources allow, you may also organize a solidarity demonstration
on or before September 30, 2013
(the day of the vote and a large
demonstration by The City is for All). If you do so, please send us pictures or
videos so that we can publicize on our website and Facebook-page the
international protest against the ongoing war on poor people in Hungary.

We hope that
you will find a way to support our struggle. If you have any question regarding
the events to be organized, the documentation, or the campaign itself, please
feel free to contact us at

Thank you
for all your support!

The City is for All