Policy of arresting the homeless cruel, ineffective says charity

Source: NST Online

The arrest  and detention of the homeless without trial under the Destitute Persons Act must be stopped as it is cruel, said a non-profit charitable organisation today. Pic by NSTP/Mohd Rizal Abdullah

The arrest and detention of the homeless without trial under the Destitute Persons Act must be stopped as it is cruel, said a non-profit charitable organisation today. Pic by NSTP/Mohd Rizal Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR: The arrest and detention of the homeless without trial under the Destitute Persons Act must be stopped as it is cruel, said a non-profit charitable organisation today.

Petaling Jaya-based Community Excel Services (CES) said the current policy of detention does not help the homeless as they are stigmatised and placed under ‘rehabilitation’ against their will, which does more harm than good.

“Rounding up and detaining the city’s homeless population shouldn’t be part of government strategy to help vulnerable people.

“What we should do is address the psychological and emotional needs of the homelessness, which includes their lack of love, feeling of belonging, acceptance and safety,” said CES coordinator Jerry Teo.

He was speaking to the press during CES’ KL Urban Fellowship program to assist the poor, which includes providing medical check-ups, clothing giveaways, games and meal sessions with volunteers at its centre in Lorong Petaling. Read more

Homeless people are not cockroaches or vermin, they are human and have rights – Leilani Farha

Source: The Guardian

The most glaring violation of human rights is at a doorstep near you. The global stigma surrounding homeless people sees them treated like illegally parked cars

All over the world, homeless people are subject to criminal sanction, given tickets or forced out of city centres just for sleeping or eating. Photograph: Vadim Ghirda/AP

How is it that homelessness – one of the most egregious violations of human rights globally – can be so invisible?

The answer lies in the fact that we have done pretty much everything we can to erase homeless people from our sight and from our minds.

How governments, the media, and the affluent treat homeless people has a significant impact on how the rest of us view them and, ultimately, how homeless people view themselves. They have become a social group that, if not ignored completely, is faced with relentless vilification, discrimination, criminalisation and even hate crimes.

In many countries, homeless people who are engaged in the simple acts of eating and sleeping in the only spaces available to them – parks, public squares, or vacant lands – are subject to criminal sanction, given tickets (like illegally parked cars), and forcibly removed from city centres (also like illegally parked cars). Left to languish like garbage in a landfill on the periphery of society, they are rendered completely invisible. While this may be the preferred approach for some governments, it only cements stigmatisation and helps internalise discrimination against those who are homeless. Read more