A tough new law that bans homeless people from sleeping on Hungary’s streets came into force on Monday, prompting criticism from human rights groups who say it is inhumane.
The law, which aims to provide proper living conditions for the homeless, came after a constitutional amendment was approved in June which branded rough sleeping as a crime and empowered the police to order homeless people to move into shelters.
The police have the authority to detain them and destroy their personal belongings if they disobey the law thrice within a 90-day period.
The right-wing government under Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that they had allocated about 9 billion forints ($32.17 million) to homeless care in its 2018 budget and an additional 300 million forints to expand shelter capacities.
However, not everyone was happy with the law and around 500 people protested against the amendment on Sunday.
“The constitutional amendment allows the authorities to persecute the most helpless people with a wider range of police tools from Oct. 15”, said an activist group named “Varos Mindenkie” (which means “the city is for everyone”).
“The government has failed to conduct a proper dialogue with charity organisations before it passed the legislation”, said Gabor Ivanyi, leader of the Oltalom (Shelter) group that operates homeless shelters in Budapest.