No Record of the Case: Roma in Albania

15 June 1997

No Record of the Case: Roma in Albania

Albania has emerged from a repressive communism and has not yet established democratic institutions and practices, rule of law or respect for human rights. There was a considerable worsening of the human rights situation since Sali Berisha took power in 1992. All Albanian citizens, regardless of ethnicity, have been subject to human rights violations of the kind described in this report with regard to Roma. Extortion, expulsions, police abuse, and illegitimate political manipulation are a common problem. It is important to bear in mind when reading this report that in an undemocratic society such as in Albania, all citizens suffer human rights violations. However, minorities are especially susceptible to abuse.

This report explores several aspects of the human rights situation of Albanian Roma. First of all, Roma are taken advantage of by the police who arbitrarily arrest and exact exorbitant fines from them, often physically abusing the Roma and Jevgjit detainees in the process. Extreme abuse has led to death in two cases investigated by the ERRC. Secondly, non-Roma Albanian citizens seize upon the weakness of Albanian Roma to expel them from their homes, kidnap young Roma for prostitution, or simply attack them on the street for money. Third, Roma -- at the brink of Albanian society -- are unable to protect themselves against discrimination by both domestic authorities and the foreign embassies where they seek visas. The ERRC also documented instances of denial of the political rights of Roma, especially in southern Albania, where Roma are put under pressure not to ally with the political party associated with the Greek minority. This report on Roma in Albania concludes with a series of recommendations aimed at improving the legal rights situation of Roma in Albania.

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