CoE and Albania to Discuss Inefficiencies in Social and Human Rights

The Council of Europe is set to meet with Albanian officials representing the Ministry of Finance and Economy to discuss the non-accepted provisions of Article 22 of the European Social Charter.

The objective of the meeting will be to discuss the provisions that the Albanian government have not yet accepted, as well as to exchange views and evaluate the possibility for the country to accept additional provisions.

There will also be discussion on the collective complaints procedure which allows social partners and NGOs to directly apply to the European Committee of Social Rights for a ruling on non-implementation of the Charter in their own country. Albania has not yet implemented this system.

Albania ratified the Charter in 2002 and to date has accepted 64 of the Revised Charters 98 paragraphs.

Situations of non-conformity as highlighted by the CoE include inadequate labour laws, in particular relating to working conditions, a “manifestly unfair” minimum net wage, insufficient notice periods, unfair wage deductions, and the fact that police are not allowed to form a trade union- something the CoE classifies as a civil right.

In terms of health, social security, and social protection, it was noted that public authorities are not involved in research relating to occupational health and safety and that there were inadequate levels of protection against asbestos, occupational diseases, and accidents at work, adding that the efficiency of the labour inspectorate had not been established.

The government was also criticised for a lack of spending on public healthcare, lack of measures to reduce infant and maternal mortality, and delays around the provision of healthcare.

In terms of minors, it was highlighted that possession of child pornography is not a criminal offence and that there is insufficient protection for street children, and to protect those at risk from trafficking in children.

The European Social Charter is a set of international standards that concern social rights as well as an effective mechanism for monitoring their implementation within applicable states. The Charter is one of the most widely accepted human rights standards within the Council of Europe, reinforced by the fact that 43 out of 47 EU Members states are party to either the 1961 charter or the Revised charter.

The European Committee of Social Rights will be represented by Barbara Kresal and József Hajdú, members of the Committee.

The Department of the European Social Charter will be represented by Jan Malinowski, Head of the Department of the European Social Charter and Executive Secretary of the European Committee of Social Rights, Nino Chitashvili and Elena Malagoni, Lawyers.

— Alice Elizabeth Taylor