Problem solved while investigated - The Ombudsman on designating a place of abode for foreigners leaving the shelter - Névtelen webhely
Problem solved while investigated - The Ombudsman on designating a place of abode for foreigners leaving the shelter
Problem solved while investigated – The Ombudsman on designating a place of abode for foreigners leaving the shelter
Guaranteeing the constitutional minimum of the right to social security is the state's responsibility, pointed out the Ombudsman after his staff had visited a community shelter established for foreigners in Balassagyarmat. László Székely analysed the consequences of a legal provision according to which foreigners under immigration proceedings may stay at community shelters only two months instead of eighteen. The fundamental right issue generated by this change was solved while being investigated by the Ombudsman.
As a result of a regulatory amendment adopted in September 2013, the period that illegal aliens or other foreigners under immigration proceedings may spend at community shelters was reduced from eighteen to two months. After those two months they have to leave the shelter. If they have nowhere to go, i.e., they have no relatives, acquaintances who would take them in, a mandatory place of abode may be designated for them. As the Minister of Interior informed Ombudsman László Székely, the designation of such places of abode does not obligate the local governments concerned to provide for such foreigners, but local governments are free to grant social aid from their own budgets.
As a result of this amendment, such foreigners, if they opted to stay in Hungary, would become homeless. Without being qualified as a refugee, they could not have access to social care, undertake jobs, and they were not protected by the social security system. They had limited access to the homeless shelters, mainly for sanitary purposes, and there were cases when foreigners could not be let in because they did not understand Hungarian and, consequently, could not be briefed on shelter rules and policies.
This problem was solved by statutory changes, including the amendment of the Act on Social Care, effective as of 3 December 2013, which made it possible for such foreigners to stay in night shelters and provisional shelters for the homeless. Acknowledging this development, Commissioner for Fundamental Rights László Székely requested the Minister of Interior and the Director General of the Office of Immigration and Nationality to closely monitor the fate of foreigners leaving the community shelters after two months and to report back to him on their experiences of the first six months following the statutory change.
The Ombudsman also drew their attention to an earlier decision of the Constitutional Court, according to which guaranteeing the constitutional minimum of the right to social security is the state's responsibility. It is crucial for upholding the right to human dignity and, consequently, the right to life, which is also an obligation of the state in connection with the protection of life.