The government states the State Police is “doing its best” at guaranteeing equal rights to the Roma, Egyptian and LGBTI community.
Following a report published by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the Albanian authorities responded to the many criticisms.
Points of concern throughout the report included an overall lack of action or progress by the authorities in the fight against intolerance. It found that particularly LGBTI individuals and members of the Roma and Egyptian Community were consistently discriminated against across all levels of society.
Regarding hate crime, they defended their position by saying that there were no recorded cases of hate crime against members of the LGBTI community during 2018-2019. They also said there were no cases where police officers have used violence or discriminated against the LGBTI community. They did not address the fact that many community members do not report incidents because they have been ignored, discouraged, or discriminated against in the past, or quite simply, do not believe that the police will do anything.
The government said that police training modules have been updated based on international human rights and anti-discrimination acts with a particular focus on LGBTI community members.
According to their response, only two complaints of “hate speech” were addressed by AMA on television shows. The first received a fine, the second was warned not to repeat the action. The rebuttal did not address the issue of public officials and members of the government frequently engaging in hate speech in public forums.
The State Police, they said have “established contacts” and have cooperated with leaders of the LGBTI Community in order to develop their activities in public places. In particular the Pride march. The said there have been “no violations of order or other incidents in terms of the activity of member of this community.”
In terms of the criminal offense of “incitement to hatred or dispute”, only 7 offenses were identified during 2019, involving 13 perpetrators. In 2018, only 6 were identified with 13 perpetrators and no prosecutions were made. When it comes to the criminal offense of “threatening with racism and xenophobic motives via a computer system” one case was identified per year, over the last few years. One prosecution was made.
Other crimes including dissemination of racist materials through the computer system and insulting due to racist or xenophobic motives through the computer, had 0-2 cases per year and only one prosecution.
The government ignored concerns over forced evictions of Roma and Egyptian families including use of excessive force and tear gas. It also ignored the fact that ECRI highlighted that they had not followed legal procedures when evicting residents of Bregu i Lumit.
They claim that “citizens will not be forced to leave their house until is provided an adequate solution for them under the social housing program”. There have been multiple cases where the opposite has happened in Tirana and beyond over the last few years.
The government did not address any of the suggestions relating to same-sex marriage or administrative recognition of gender reassignment.