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Hungarian commissioner resigns over new homeless law

Social Affairs Ministry commissioner Miklós Vecsei resigned Wednesday after Parliament passed an amendment making it possible to accommodate homeless persons in tents.

Vecsei, who was in charge of homeless affairs, said there was hope until now that a new strategy for homeless people would be drafted but the amendment put an end to that. Nearly three million people live below the poverty line in Hungary, sociologist Zsuzsa Ferge said on Magyar Rádió.

In an interview with Magyar Hírlap, Ferge said it will be decades before the continuous cycle of poverty can be halted, even if constant efforts are made. The newspaper writes that 20,000 children are starving in Hungary and a further 120,000-160,000 are undernourished. MPs ate slices of bread covered with pork grease and glasses of tap water in Parliament during a debate held on the UN's International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

The NGO Védegylet and other groups staged a street theatre protest to mark the day. The demonstration was the overture to a four-day conference and festival at the West Balkán bar in the Eighth District, where experts will speak about the causes and connections of poverty. (caboodle)