United States urged to repeal laws criminalizing homelessness

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Homeless man in the lower East side of Manhattan, New York City.

United States authorities have been urged by three United Nations independent human rights experts to repeal laws that criminalize homelessness.

The experts on extreme poverty, housing, and water and sanitation welcomed a US federal report which recognizes that the criminalization of homelessness may violate the human rights of homeless persons.

The study has been done by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Charles Appel reports.

The study looked at measures which criminalize what it calls 'acts of living' related to homelessness, such as sleeping, eating, panhandling, urinating or conducting personal hygiene in public spaces.

It condemns the criminalization of homelessness and recommends effective alternative practices and policies to reduce and prevent homelessness.

It also calls on states and the federal government to adopt constructive alternatives to criminalization, designed with the participation of homeless persons and relevant communities.

The UN experts say the report could generate a tangible difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of homeless Americans.

Charles Appel, United Nations.

Duration: 42:

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