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Vellinge municipality says 'yes' to begging ban

Published torsdag 21 september 2017 kl 09.22
Civil Rights Defenders: The human rights of these people need to be respected
(4:15 min)
Carina Wutzler (M) head of the local council in Vellinge during Wednesday night's vote on a begging ban in the town.
Carina Wutzler (Moderate party) head of the local council in Vellinge during Wednesday night's vote on a begging ban in the town. Credit: Johan Nilsson/TT

Human rights group, Civil Rights Defenders, says it will appeal Wednesday night's decision by Vellinge municipal council to approve a proposal that would make it the first town in Sweden to ban begging.

The municipal board in Vellinge, in southern Sweden, recently announced that it wanted to ban begging at several squares and public places starting in 2018. The proposal was approved by the larger municipal council during a vote last night.

While the ban still needs to get the go-ahead from the Skåne county administrative board, the human rights organisation Civil Rights Defenders said on Thursday that it was appealing the decision to the Malmö Administration Court.

"The begging prohibition causes unjustified and disproportionate restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms and should therefore be repealed," said Civil Rights Defenders' legal director John Stauffer to Radio Sweden.

Ahead of the vote on Wednesday, Carina Wutzler (Moderate party) chair of the municipal council, said that many Vellinge residents are put in an uncomfortable situation when people ask for money on the streets. She told TT that there is also a problem with housing conditions and crime in some places in Sweden.

The Moderate Party will consider whether or not to push for a nationwide ban on begging during its party conference in October.

Sweden's second-largest party says a begging ban would cover any individual who panhandles anywhere in Sweden. It claims that a ban is needed to crack down on public "disturbances and the exploitation of vulnerable people."

In recent years, Sweden has seen an uptick in European migrants, mainly people from the Roma communities of Bulgaria and Romania, begging on the streets.

The number of EU migrants who beg in Sweden is estimated to be around 4,700 to 5,000, according to the Police authority. That's a marked increase on two years ago, when the figure was 2,100.

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