Minister of Justice: Tougher punishments for begging work

Minister of Justice: Tougher punishments for begging work

Here, the Minister of Justice emphasizes that it is both necessary and “reasonable” that one is punished for “insecurity-creating begging” in Denmark.

And the special section 197 of the Penal Code will not be changed as a result of a judgment of 19 January this year, in which Switzerland lost a case in the Human Rights Court.

– For me, security is crucial. We need to be able to be safe when we go for a walk on the street or take our children to the nearby park. We have previously experienced episodes of begging and camps with foreign homeless people, which created insecurity.

– That kind does not belong in Denmark. That is why we have a ban on begging. And I have no desire whatsoever to change that ban, says Nick Hækkerup.

The Unity List’s Rosa Lund believes that the ruling from the European Court of Human Rights should lead to changes in Danish legislation.

The case is about Switzerland imposing a fine on a Romanian beggar. The fine was later converted to five days’ imprisonment. It was, according to the court, in violation of the right to privacy in human rights convention.

– In Denmark, just like Switzerland, we punish people who have to beg. To me, it is obvious that our begging legislation is in violation of the treaties, says Rosa Lund.

However, according to Nick Hækkerup, the Ministry of Justice has made an assessment that points to ambiguities in the judgment as well as differences between Denmark and Switzerland, which means that the judgment is not assessed to have significance for Danish legislation.

In addition, there is basically no need to beg in a society like the Danish, Nick Hækkerup believes:

– It is not necessary to beg on the streets in Denmark to get help at a hostel. We have a welfare society that offers financial and social help to people in need, says Nick Hækkerup.

– It is not legal or reasonable to create insecurity in the way we have seen beggars do. And it is the National Police’s assessment that the increased penalties have had a positive effect in relation to combating insecurity-creating begging, he says.

At the consultation, both the Minister of Justice and the Liberal Party make it clear that the judges must be careful to put the popular support for the court and the conventions out of control.

Both the Social Democrats and the Liberal Party see signs of “activism” from the court, as it moves from law to politics.

– The judges are not elected for anything. Judges are lawyers, but they look at cases where they come up with what they think should be politics. They have to stop that, says Nick Hækkerup.

Rosa Lund says that the Unity List will now follow the criminal cases of begging that run in the city courts and that may come in the high court. She believes that the Danish begging legislation will at some point also end up in the European Court of Human Rights.

Source: The Nordic Page