GENEVA (3 April 2013) – Two United Nations Special Rapporteurs on extreme poverty and on adequate housing criticized today a recent amendment to the Hungarian Fundamental Law that authorizes national and municipal legislation to outlaw sleeping in public spaces.
The human rights experts urged the Hungarian Government to retract this newly adopted amendment, in line with the Constitutional Court’s decision to decriminalize homelessness and Hungary’s international obligations, and expressed their concern about a “rushed amendment process, which left no time for public consultation.”
“Through this amendment, the Hungarian Parliament institutionalizes the criminalization of homelessness and enshrines discrimination against and stigmatization of homeless persons in the Constitution,” said the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda.
“Such legislation will have a disproportionate impact on persons living in poverty in general and on homeless persons in particular,” Ms. Sepúlveda said. “This will not only impede the enjoyment of human rights of homeless persons, but will also promote prejudice towards people living in poverty and homeless persons for generations to come.”
The Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik, warned that “outlawing rough sleeping in the context of limited availability of housing solutions for homeless persons and low-income households is contrary to Hungary’s international human rights obligations of equality and non-discrimination.”