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Discriminatory Practices Against Minorities

Discriminatory Practices Against Minorities

Members of Greek and Macedonian ethnic minorities claim that outside of the “Minority Zones”, established during the Enver Hoxha’s totalitarian regime (1944-1985), there still are numerous locations inhabited primarily by Greeks and Macedonians.

A huge scandal was caused by the population census of 2011, where people of Greek and Macedonian origins that live outside the “Minority Zones” were under a threat of financial penalties forbidden to report belonging to any ethnicity other than the one stated in their passport (during Hoxha’s regime all members of ethnic minorities who lived outside “Minority Zones” had their nationality recorded as “Albanian”) . This situation continued in 2014. Egyptian minority is also not recognised by the Albanian government .

There are approximately 60 000 Roma people living in Albania, many of whom live in settlements with little or no infrastructure. Access to education and employment remained a problem for Roma in 2014. Only a few Roma finish middle school; only 4% graduate from college or university . Roma in Selite are under threat of eviction due to the construction of a bypass road .

The government is not protecting Roma from forced evictions from their informal settlements in Tirana and do not provide them with adequate alternative housing . Human Rights Ombudsman reports that in 2014 many minority children were unable to receive education in their native language. Bilingual schools only provide education for the first nine grades.

In November 2014, in was reported that an Endocrinologist has been verbally abusing a nurse for wearing a Muslim headscarf .

LGBT is also facing discrimination in Albania, where they have no right to marriage or civil partnership. LGBT children face bullying in schools, while teachers are unable to deal with these problems. They are also discriminated against in healthcare, where according to Human Rights Ombudsman they tend to receive lower quality service than other people.

Currently, a number of shortcomings have accumulated in the reception of immigrants claiming political asylum, victims of trafficking, etc. The National Centre for the Reception of Asylum-Seekers did not have a compulsory lawyer, there were not enough educators and medical personnel, there were problems with the choice of clothes by age and season. Refugees did not have the opportunity to attend retraining courses or to seek work through the Centre. In a similar institution in Kares, translators, psychologists, lawyers, doctors were not enough, there were problems with heating and supplying foreigners with personal care items, foreigners did not actually have anything for leisure, as a result of which their lives resembled imprisonment.

Buildings at the National Centre for Victims of Trafficking are in state of disrepair; there were problems with heating, a lack of translators and psychologists.

While the Albanian government has stated that only one hate crime has been committed in five years, NGOs, and with them ODIHR, find this information to be inaccurate. In particular, in 2021 several acts of discrimination were committed against LGBT persons who were not allowed into cafes, refused service in cabs, refused to rent rooms, and so forth. There was a case of a transgender person being beaten in the street. According to the European Roma Rights Center, in February 2020, two Egyptians were insulted by Roma and physically assaulted by police officers. One victim was injured and found unconscious and covered in blood.

According to Amnesty International, female candidates also faced hate speech during the March 2021 campaign.

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