Another curfew, another fundamental rights violation

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Categories: EnglishNews

Another curfew was issued by the Government on Tuesday and it prohibits people from leaving their homes at night. But what about those people, who do not have a home?

Following the decree of November 3rd, a new decree was issued by the Government on November 10th which now prohibits staying out on public premises not only between 12am and 5am, but also between 8pm and 5am. The consequences of breaking this curfew remain unchanged.

On the streets at night without a reason?

According to Government Decree No. 479/2020. (XI. 3.), everybody must stay at their permanent address, temporary address or place of accomodation between midnight and 5 am. The only exceptions to this rule are when people have to leave their homes because of work or health related matters, or because of life threatening emergencies. People who leave their homes for reasons besides the above are now committing a misdemeanor. 

Half a million fine for being outside

Not only did the Government declare staying outside on public premises a misdemeanor, but it carries an even more severe fine than the acts of disturbing peace or driving a vehicle despite having your license withdrawn. 

According to the rules of the curfew, the police can issue a fine in any amount between 5.000 and 500.000 Ft. On the spot fines can be issued in any amount between 5.000 and 150.000 Ft, and in case of repeated offense the fine can be up to 200.000 Ft.

These fines are too high even for someone with an average income to be able to pay, which means that sometimes a simple fine can lead to confinement that lasts weeks.

What happens to those, who do not have anywhere to go?

People who do not have a home did not have it easy before, as they can be penalized for breaking the prohibition of residing on public premises for habitation, since 2018. These new rules of the state of emergency allow the authorities another way to punish people, who do not have a home to live in.

The problem is not only that these people are now subjected to a double penalty, but also the fact that the shelter system – like before – is especially now not able to provide housing for those, who are left out in the streets.

The Streetlawyer Association is thus very concerned about the Goverment’s behaviour towards homeless people. Not only there is a punishment in place for them on a daily basis, but even now, during the pandemic, instead of offering help and assistance for those in need, they only offer even more severe punishment for them. 

If you are outside and witness a homeless person getting a fine, please wait for the procedure to be over (without interfering) and inform the fined person about the Streetlawyer Associations contact information! 

Fordítás/Translation: Hellenbarth Virág, önkéntes/volunteer