Latest reports from Budapest suggest that the Hungarian parliament has overwhelmingly voted in favour of measures that enable local authorities to make it a criminal offence for homeless people to live in public spaces and in and around rubbish points.
This means that councils now have the power to impose fines, community service and on occasion custodial sentences on those sleeping rough. This follows the Hungarian Constitutional Court quite rightly striking down a prior law criminalising homelessness as being a violation of human dignity.
LYMEC, the European Liberal Youth, considers this latest stance to be draconian and unacceptable. Instead of treating the homeless as criminals, it goes without saying that authorities should use their powers and resources to help them. Whatever the cause of homelessness, and there are often a myriad of reason, the long term problems are not going to be solved.
LYMEC hopes that greater attention across Europe is paid to the current actions of the Hungarian government and that the political class in Hungary not only pays more respect to the sensible views of the judiciary, but also to the genuine needs and human rights of its homeless population.