Albania

We cooperate with professional watchdog organisations that provide legal aid and lobby for legislative changes. Another focus area in Albania is to strengthen media ethics through trainings and by organising debates on the issue of self-regulation.

Read about the current human rights situation in our country report Human rights in Albania

Second Albanian LGBT activist included in the Natalia Project

Xheni Karaj. Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

“I was once spat at by a man on the street while at a demonstration. Albanian men get very threatened by lesbians so I challenged him. I grabbed his hand and told him I would not let go until the police arrived” said Xheni Karaj, LGBT activist from Albania who is now included in the Natalia Project security system. The Natalia bracelet represents an important physical, moral and psychological support to human rights activists.

Natalia braclet protects LGBT-activist in the Balkans

Kristi Pinderi, LGBT activist from Albania, is one of the human rights defenders included in the Natalia Project.

Kristi Pinderi from Albania, is one of the first human rights defenders from the Western Balkans to be included in the Natalia Project security system. For him the bracelet represents a strong moral support in his day-to-day work: ”Behind the bracelet there is an entire system and organisation with people, institutions, and media ready and willing to act in case of an emergency. It is a way for human rights activists not to feel alone and it is definitely the best tool for empowering them”

Blerta Cani Drenofci

Blerta Cani Drenofci Photo: Julia Björne/Global Reporting

Until 1993 persons with disabilities were invisible, kept in institutions, and no one talked about their rights. Today the issue is less controversial but Blerta Cani Drenofci, Executive Director of Albanian Disability Rights Foundation, says she her choice of career has often been questioned: “In the beginning I met a lot of ignorance. My friends were surprised that I wanted to work with this issue.”

Seminar: A dedicated fight for dignity

Blerta Cani Drenofci, ADRF

This year Albania participated in Paralympics for the first time ever. But the obstacles that Albanians with disabilities must face are still high. Their human rights are violated on a daily basis and a person with disabilities is commonly regarded as a ‘misfortune’. Welcome to a seminar on September 26 with Blerta Çani Drenofci, Executive Director at Albanian Disability Rights Foundation.

Combating prejudices with radio debates

Widespread lack of respect for human rights, in particular discrimination against vulnerable groups, remains of great concern in Albania. Civil Rights Defenders believe that the media can play an important role in raising awareness about human rights and mobilizing civic engagement. A cooperation with Independent Local Media Association (ILMA), to engage citizens in debates on radio about the most important human rights issues, has therefore been established.

Improving protection against discrimination

Civil Rights Defenders cooperation with the Albanian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights (AHC) in this specific project aims at improving the situation regarding protection against discrimination in Albania. We do this by raising capacities of our legal aid partners and the Institution of the Commissioner against Discrimination in handling cases of discrimination as well as increase the capacities of lawyers, people from public structures and civil society to understand and follow cases of discrimination.

Empowering the most vulnerable with Tirana Legal Aid Society

Since 2006 Civil Rights Defenders has cooperated with Tirana Legal Aid Society, TLAS, in assisting Roma families to register their children, but also other members of the families, in order to help them get access to some of the most fundamental human rights; such as the right to education, health care, social allowances, as well as the possibility to get a legal employment and the right to vote in general elections. Hundreds of families have been assisted through our joint efforts so far.