Four Roma made policemen in Levan, Albania

The Albanian daily Koha Jonë reported on September 24 that according to a directorate of the police in the town of Fier in south-western Albania, four Roma from the "First of May" neighbourhood of Levan had been inducted into the police force. According to the article, 26-year-old A. Brahushi, 23-year-old L. Dule, 22-year old S. Dule, and 23-year-old P. Mersini had finished training several days previously. The recruitment of Roma to the Fier police department had been ordered by Minister of the Interior Ceka, an intervention necessary because the men had not finished the prerequisite secondary education. Koha Jonë reported that the director of the Fier police stated that the men are now expected to complete a correspondence course for a secondary education degree.

The Roma community in Levan was the scene of appalling violence in mid March, during the disintegration of public order earlier this year. Following initial provocation by a gang of armed men, fifteen non-Roma and three Roma were killed in the Levan community (See ERRC report No Record of the Case: Roma in Albania). According to the Albanian Helsinki Committee, as of September 9, the Roma of Levan still refused to surrender arms and would negotiate only with Minister Ceka. The provision of Roma policemen in Fier is allegedly part of an agreement reached between the Interior Ministry and the Roma of Levan.

Romani policeman R. Brahushi, told Koha Jonë on the occasion of his inauguration into the force, "We are peaceful people and heads of families. We will be able to keep peace in the name of the law." The ERRC recommends the recruitment of Roma to the police force all over Albania as a valuable step towards improving the human rights situation there.

(ERRC, Koha Jonë)

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