Current issues concerning human rights in Albania include domestic violence, isolated cases of torture, and police brutality, the general condition of prisons, human and sex trafficking and LGBT rights.
During Enver Hoxha leadership (1944-1985) communist Albania was known one of the most repressive countries in East Europe, however, from 1992 under the leadership of Democratic Party several liberalizing reforms had been conducted.
There has been a growing awareness of human trafficking as a human rights issue in Europe (see main article: Human trafficking in Albania). The end of communism has contributed to an increase in human trafficking, with the majority of victims being women forced into prostitution.
Albania is a country of origin and country of transit for persons, primarily women and children, trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The Albanian government has shown some commitment to combat trafficking but has been criticised for not fully complying with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and failing to develop effective measures in witness protection.
Torture and Death by the Authorities
Since the beginning of 1994, Amnesty International has received reports of incidents in which members of the Albanian police are alleged to have ill-treated people during arrest or detention, some even died due to this treatment. Detainees are reported frequently to have suffered injuries, such as bruising, broken teeth or cuts which have needed medical treatment or even admission to hospital. Some cases of ill-treatment have amounted to torture. Many of these violations have been directed at members or supporters of the Socialist Party (the renamed communist party). Other victims include homosexuals, members of the Greek minority and former political prisoners. Prosecution of police officers for torture or ill-treatment appears to be rare.
Also, Amnesty International mention that torture and ill-treatment of detainees are common in Albania even today.
Violence and discrimination against women
Nearly 60% of women in rural areas suffer physical or psychological violence and nearly 8% are victims of sexual violence. Protection orders are often violated. In 2014 the Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) reported that the number of female murder victims is still high.
The Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination has raised concerns regarding the family registration law that discriminates against women. As a result heads of households, who are overwhelmingly men have the right to change family residency without their partners’ permission.
Violence against children
In 2015 UNICEF reported that 77% of children have been subjected to some form of violent punishment at home. Hundreds of children are being forced to beg or subjected to other forms of forced labour within the country and even abroad.
At least 70 families are in a self-imposed confinement due to fear of revenge attacks.
Human rights violations of Greek minority
Human rights in Albania are violated by the Government which have targeted the Greek minority population via police and secret service according to Human Rights organisations. Greek communities have been targeted by development projects and had their homes demolished in alleged ethnic targeting of Northern Epirus Greeks from Southern Albania, where homes are systematically demolished. Also, according to Amnesty International there were cases of mistreatment of members of Greek minority by the authorities.
Also, the ethnic Greek minority complained about the government’s unwillingness to recognize ethnic Greek towns outside communist-era “minority zones,” to utilize Greek in official documents and on public signs in ethnic Greek areas, or to include more ethnic Greeks in public administration. In 2008, the government inserted several new road signs in the Himara district written in Albanian and English but not Greek. The ethnic Greek mayor of Himara ordered the removal of these signs and the government charged him of destruction of government property.
The 2012 USA annual report mention that the emergence of strident nationalist groups like the Red and Black Alliance (RBA) increased ethnic tensions with the Greek minority groups.
- ^ a b Amnesty International,Human Rights in Republic of Albania
- ^ Fred., Abrahams, (1996). Human rights in post-communist Albania. Human Rights Watch/Helsinki (Organization : U.S.). New York: Human Rights Watch. ISBN 1564321606. OCLC 34677470.
- ^ Council of Europe Archived 2008-02-14 at the Wayback Machine.
- ^ "A modern slave's brutal odyssey". BBC News. 3 November 2004.
- ^ U.S Department of State,"ALBANIA (TIER 2) Albania is a source country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor, largely to Greece and Italy, where many victims are then further transited to the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands. Albanian children, especially ethnic Roma and Egyptian, continue to be trafficked externally for forced begging. Regional and international experts consider Albania to have significantly decreased as a transit country for trafficking in Western Europe. The Government of Albania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government remained committed to monitoring and preventing trafficking at the country's main ports and produced successful interdictions. However, implementation of Albania's anti-trafficking tools remained inadequate and a critical area of concern. Greater, proactive steps in the areas of protection and reintegration are needed to ensure the safety of victims. The government must apply available laws and programs, in addition to improving prevention for vulnerable groups. Trafficking-related corruption must also be addressed.
In 2004, the Government of Albania continued to arrest, prosecute, and convict traffickers. Its courts prosecuted 132 traffickers and handed down 121 convictions. Commendably, over half of the sentences during the reporting period were over five years in length and 30 traffickers were sentenced to more than ten years' imprisonment. In September 2004, the government adopted legislation that includes broad civil asset forfeiture provisions, requiring the accused trafficker to prove the legitimacy of sources of wealth. Prosecutors, however, had yet to employ the forfeiture provisions. Serious resource constraints and corruption among government officials continued to hamper anti-trafficking efforts. The government continued to investigate police involvement in trafficking; in 2004, four police officers were investigated for offenses related to trafficking. The government did not prosecute or convict any officials for trafficking complicity during the reporting period.
The government provided some facilities and personnel to assist trafficking victims, and operates its own National Reception Center; NGOs have two additional shelters. The government has begun work on a national referral mechanism involving law enforcement, social services, and NGO partners to improve the initial identification, reception, protection, and reintegration procedures for returnee victims. Police slightly increased the number of ad hoc referrals made to shelters in Albania via IOM and NGOs. Police referred 274 victims to the Vatra Center, a leading NGO in Albania providing shelter and reintegration services to victims. Notably, a number of police directorates opened their own temporary shelters to accommodate trafficking victims. However, regulations necessary for the implementation of witness-protection measures adopted in 2003 have yet to be finalized. In 2004, the Government of Albania established a witness relocation program and adopted special witness protection provisions allowing for endangered witnesses in trafficking cases to testify via remote video link. The program remains unfunded.
In 2004, the government conducted few prevention programs, and continued to reply primarily on NGOs and international organizations to carry out such activities. The Ministry of Education began to incorporate prevention activities into school curricula. In 2004, the government adopted a newly improved Strategic Framework and National Action Plan that outlines a comprehensive and targeted approach to trafficking. However, few aspects of the plan have been funded or initiated. In February 2005, the government also finalized its Child Trafficking Strategy and Action Plan. "
- ^ ALBANIA: FAILURE TO END POLICE ILL-TREATMENT AND DEATHS IN CUSTODY
- ^ ALBANIA HUMAN RIGHTS
- ^ a b c d Human Rights in Albania
- ^ https://www.hrw.org/legacy/summaries/s.albania952.html
- ^ http://www.himara.gr/epikairotita/topika-dromena/5385-oi-alvanoi-arpazoun-spitia-apo-tous-vorioipirotes
- ^ ALBANIA: FAILURE TO END POLICE ILL-TREATMENT AND DEATHS IN CUSTODY
- ^ a b https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/eur/119064.htm ALBANIA 2008 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT]
- ^ https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eur/136016.htm ALBANIA 2009 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT]
- ^ ALBANIA 2010 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
- ^ ALBANIA 2011 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
- ^ a b ALBANIA 2012 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
- ^ ALBANIA 2013 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
- ^ ALBANIA 2014 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
- ^ ALBANIA 2015 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
- ^ ALBANIA 2016 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT