The Swiss city of Basel is giving beggars and homeless people a travel voucher to a European destination, provided they agree not to return to Switzerland.
Basel’s migration service offers a rail ticket as well as a donation of 20 francs, to any beggar willing to leave the country, the Local reported.
This travel voucher covers a trip to any European destination by train.
For those who live too far to go by train, such as Romania, where many beggars come from, authorities purchase an airline ticket for about 60 francs, the price for one-way flight from Basel to Bucharest, the publication said.
But there is one condition attached to this free travel: “beneficiaries must agree in writing not to return to Switzerland. I
“If they are found here again, they risk expulsion from our country”, said Toprak Yergu, a spokesperson for Basel’s Department of Justice was quoted as saying.
Basel’s solution seems more proactive than the one practiced by Geneva authorities, who fined a beggar 500 francs for breaking the canton’s anti-begging law, and then detaining her when she couldn’t pay.
The incident happened in 2014, but made news again in January 2021, when the European Court of Human Rights found the penalties against the woman to be out of proportion.
The court ruled that the Romanian woman had “the right, which is inherent in human dignity, to express her distress and try to meet her needs by begging.
Geneva had violated article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees the protection of private and family life, the court said, ordering the canton to pay the woman 922 euros in moral damages.