Jevg families sue Albanian municipality and police

02 April 1998

On October 14, the Albanian daily Republika reported that seven Jevg families comprising forty-six individuals were suing the police and municipality of Librazhd, approximately 100 kilometres east of Tirana. „Jevg” or „Jevgiit” are a people called „Gypsies” by ethnic Albanians, but are not recognised by many Roma as Roma and, indeed, for the most part do not identify themselves as Roma. The paper reported that in March 1997, the families had been forced to leave apartments they were legally leasing because the council of the municipality had decided that the space should be used for the offices of political parties. 2,000,000 Lek (approximately 23,280 DM) was allegedly spent by the municipality for this purpose. However, after the families vacated the flats, other families moved into them, and not the political parties stipulated in the municipal decision. The Jevg families then sent a letter of appeal to Prime Minister Nano, protesting the situation. According to the Albanian daily Republika, in response, the families received a letter from the Office of the Prime Minister dated August 28 in which they were told, „as to the problem set out in your letter to the Prime Minister, we inform you that we have sent it to the authorities of the Municipality of Librazhd. From there you will receive clarification about the possibilities of solving your problem.” Between August and October, however, nothing happened, so the families brought the lawsuit.



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