Homelessness is not crime – By Allison Calder, Rock Trust Head of Services

In October, Hungary made it a crime to live on the streets.

This has made some of those, who do not have a home, go into hiding and puts them in more danger as sub-zero temperatures hit the country. Rather than looking at homelessness as a symptom of wider personal issues, or the failure of society to support the most vulnerable and marginalised amongst us, to uphold their rights to housing, dignity, respect…. and life, the Hungarian government have chosen to fine and imprison those who take to the streets to live.

On International Human Rights Day, remember that we were all once small children with high expectations for what life was to hold, and that we are all human beings who deserve to have our rights upheld, no matter how life has turned out. Consider the reasons why someone becomes homeless in the first place; reasons such as extreme poverty, violence, abuse or loss, we categorise people as undeserving and to blame for their own plight.

The Hungarian Minister of State for Social Affairs and Inclusion has said that the new law ‘serves the interest of society as a whole’. This statement suggests a dangerous way of thinking. Is it ok to put the lives of a minority at risk for the good of the majority? How do we decide which group has the greater right to life? Let us not forget that history has taught us that persecution of the masses starts with the marginalisation of the minority.

 

Touched by a stranger…

what if that was me?

Kicked and beaten…..

what if that was me?

Told that I was worthless….

What if that was me?

No money for dinner….

what if that was me?

Sitting by a tiny gravestone….

what if that was me?

Hearing voices in my head…

what if that was me?

Solace in a bottle…

what if that was me?

Sitting in a doorway…

what if that was me?

Put in a prison cell…

what if that was me?

 

#notacrime #internationalhumanrightsday