ROUNDING UP THE HOMELESS IN HUNGARY

In mid-June, when the Hungarian ministry of justice was working on the seventh amendment to the constitution, aimed primarily at civic organizations, the Orbán government in the last minute added a new amendment (Article XXII[3]), which in its final form reads: “In order to protect public order, public security, public health and cultural values, an Act or a local government decree may, with respect to a specific part of public space, provide that staying in public space as a habitual dwelling shall be illegal.” The new law was to take effect on October 15. Since then, 101 people have received warnings and three were arrested. The real horror of the law becomes obvious only in the directives accompanying it. Here are some of the details. After three warnings within 90 days, the homeless person will be arrested and jailed while waiting for his sentencing, but if the homeless person is not cooperative, he can be jailed immediately. When can the police intervene? If the homeless person “is seen often and regularly within a limited time washing, dressing himself, or keeping a dog.” If arrested, he will spend a maximum of 72 hours in preliminary detention until the case is decided in court. In the first instance, the person can be reprimanded, sentenced to public work, or, in the case of a recidivist, given a jail term. The person will be responsible for all or part of the court costs.

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ON 15TH OCTOBER, THE GOVERNMENT SHIFTS TO HIGH GEAR IN THE PERSECUTION OF VULNERABLE GROUPS

Whenever there’s public dissent or the government finds no solution to a social problem, governments of the Fidesz party resorts to prohibition or punishment. Harassment and discrimination of the homeless people has been ongoing for long, but this new level of persecution of homelessness began at the time of the second Fidesz government and has continuously been on Fidesz’s agenda ever since. In summer 2018, the two third majority of the parliament banned homelessness in the whole country, making the lives of one of the most vulnerable social groups even harder. The Law on Petty Offences was modified along the seventh amendment to the Fundamental Law, which enters into force on 15th October 2018.

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Report to the Hungarian Government on the visit to Hungary carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 20 to 26 October 2017

The CPT is pleased to note that its delegation received no allegations of ill-treatment by staff in any of the establishments visited. However, a significant number of foreign nationals interviewed by the delegation alleged that they had been physically ill-treated by Hungarian police officers in the
context of their apprehension and return through the border fence towards Serbia (push-backs). A number of foreign nationals met by the delegation displayed recent traumatic injuries which, in the view of the delegation’s doctor, were consistent with their allegations of ill-treatment.

The CPT recalls that the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights entails the obligation not to send a person to a country where there are substantial grounds for believing that he/she would run a real
risk of being subjected to torture or ill-treatment (refoulement). The principle of non-refoulement applies not only in respect of return to the country of origin, but also to any other country to which removal is to be effected or any other country to which the person may subsequently be removed (“chain refoulement”). Consequently, it is essential that foreign nationals have effective access to an asylum procedure which involves an individual assessment of the risk of ill-treatment in the case of
a forcible removal, on the basis of an objective and independent analysis of the human rights situation in the countries concerned.

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Strache schlägt Orbán gemeinsame Fraktion vor

Österreichs Vizekanzler Heinz-Christian Strache von der rechtspopulistischen FPÖ hat dem ungarischen Regierungschef Viktor Orbán die Bildung einer gemeinsamen Fraktion im Europäischen Parlament vorgeschlagen. Er lade Orbán und dessen Fidesz-Partei ein, künftig in einem gemeinsamen EU-Block zusammenzuarbeiten, erklärte Strache am Montag bei Facebook.

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CDU ändert Kurs gegen Orbán

Die EU sollte nach Einschätzung der CDU der ungarischen Regierung mit einem Sanktionsverfahren drohen, wenn diese im Streit um Rechtsstaatsprinzipien nicht einlenkt. CDU-Generalsekretärin Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer sagte am Montag in Berlin, für eine solche Position im Europäischen Parlament habe EVP-Fraktionschef Manfred Weber Unterstützung bekommen. „Er hat gesagt, ‚Es gibt keinen Rabatt für EVP-Mitglieder'“, sagte sie.

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