Albania: “Rights violations of the past require a comprehensive approach today” – UN expert group


“We were informed that during the first few years after the fall of communism, some cases of human rights violations were initiated and reached the courts, but no case of enforced disappearances committed during those years has ever reached the Albanian courts,” they said.
The experts welcomed the recent Law establishing an Authority for the opening of the Sigurimi files, and expressed their hope that this will facilitate attaining truth and justice for victims and their families. “We call on all relevant stakeholders, both governmental and non-governmental, to fully support the work of this new Authority, in order to maximize its results,” they noted.
“The continued reluctance to look into the past will most certainly hinder Albania’s capacity to move forward into the very promising future it is striving to build for itself,” they said, calling on the State to encourage and facilitate a national public debate on the legacy of the communist past and how to collectively overcome its painful consequences. “Current positive initiatives aimed at good governance, institution building, and the rule of law, cannot and will not reach their full potential if restrained by the bulk of the country’s painful past.”
“It is not too late for healing and reconciliation in Albania,” they said. “The Working Group reiterates its willingness to support the Albanian government, and its citizens, in the efforts aimed at achieving such healing, as well as the full implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances.”
From 5 to 12 December 2016, the Working Group delegation met with a number of State officials, judicial authorities as well as with relatives of disappeared people and representatives of civil society organisations.

A final report on the visit will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017.
(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement:
In English: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21016&LangID=E
In Albanian: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Disappearances/PreliminaryObservationsAlbania12Dec2016_Albanian.docx

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