From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Council of Europe to Monitor Justice Reform, Media Freedom, and Corruption in Albania

Albania is being monitored by the Council of Europe for issues relating to the political crisis, justice reform, the aftermath of the 30 June elections, corruption and media freedom.

According to a press release, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is sending two special rapporteurs, Andrej Hunko from Germany and Joseph O’Reilly, from Ireland to monitor the obligations and commitments by Albania. Referred to as a “fact-finding mission” it will take place between 28 October and 30 October.

The rapporteurs are due to meet Prime Minister Edi Rama, speaker of parliament Gramoz Ruçi, members of the Office of the President of the Republic, leaders of opposition political parties, judicial authorities, representatives of the Central Election Commission, the international community and civil society.

Albania is being monitored by the CoE for a number of human rights concerns. According to their website, “Visits aim at pursuing a direct dialogue with the authorities and looking into one or several specific issues.”

Issues previously highlighted by the CoE include improving child protection, increasing inclusion of those with disabilities, improving conditions in prisons, police facilities and mental health facilities, and stopping the forced eviction of Roma citizens.

Other countries being monitored by the international human rights body include Russia, Serbia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.

Monitoring is designed to ensure member states “fulfil their promises to uphold the highest democratic and human rights standards.”

The process involves rapporteurs undertaking regular visits who conduct ongoing dialogue with authorities with occasional plenary debates to ensure that the state’s progress and problems are honestly assessed. States that have made progress are then able to move onto a less intensive stage of the process where a limited number of issues remain. Countries at this stage include North Macedonia and Montenegro. The third stage is periodic reviews which are conducted every five to six years and create an overall assessment of how a country is honouring its commitments. The final stage is a report on the functioning of democratic institutions in the member state.

Albania is still in the very first stage, so far not progressing adequately in a number of areas.