Luxembourg: Inside the country where begging has just been completely banned in capital | World | News

February 14, 2024
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A country eight times smaller than Wales and one of the smallest in the world has controversially decided to ban begging from city streets and those caught breaking the rules could be thrown in jail. 

The hardline approach has been taken by tiny European nation Luxembourg and formally applied to the streets of its capital city of the same name as of 15 December last year.

Authorities argued to the decidedly un-festive law has been introduced to combat the rising problem of organised criminal begging gangs targetting residents and tourists.

The ban came into full force on January 15 meaning police now have the powers to issue fines and if the beggar cannot pay they could be sent to prison for several days. Outraged human rights organisations have opposed the legislation. 

But Claire, an architect living near Luxembourg City, told euronews she had seen gangs increasingly around the city. She said: “You’d see people being dropped off in the morning and being picked up in the evening, always the same people in the same corners.

“I don’t think this is limited to the capital, that there’s more organised begging.”

The Luxembourg City Government website states the law has been introduced because of “increase in panhandling, and in particular, begging by organised gangs and aggressive begging”.

According to the authority the ban applies to shopping streets, public squares, car parks and parks between 7am and 10pm. Those found begging can be fined €25 and €250, or face several days in prison if they cannot pay. 

More than 4,500 people have signed a petition hoping to overturn the ban and the local Amnesty International branch told euronews.

Fernanda Pérez Solla, Director ad interim at Amnesty International Luxembourg, told the news site: “There is clear jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights on the subject matter (of mendicity): in the case of Lacatus v. Switzerland (2021), the Court found a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention when imposing sanctions, such as fines, against persons begging in the street.

“The European Court has understood that begging allows for providing for basic needs and that persons in vulnerable situations have a right, inherent in human dignity, to meet those basic needs through begging.”



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