Albania needs to introduce legislation and a fair and accessible procedure to identify and protect those living without a nationality.
This is according to the Tirana Legal Aid Society. New data on Albania, published as a part of a pan-European research project called the Statelessness Index revealed that despite obligations under international law, Albania lacks such a process to formally identify and protect people on its territory who do not have a nationality.
The law is currently in parliament and passing it would bring the country in line with countries like Spain, France, Italy, and the UK.
The author of the research, Anisa Metalla from TLAS said:
“The recent introduction of safeguards in nationality laws to prevent and reduce statelessness was an encouraging step in the right direction. The Tirana Legal Aid Society, along with UN Refugee Agency and the European Network on Statelessness, look forward to working closely with the Government to now see this implemented in practice. We are also on standby to help make sure that the new proposal for a statelessness determination procedure is in line with Albania’s international obligations and that it follows examples of good practice from other countries.”
Nina Murray, Head of Policy and Research and the lead coordinator of the Statelessness Index project based in London said:
“The recent developments are proof that the Albanian Government now has a real opportunity to turn things around to improve the lives of stateless people in Albania. Stateless people often fall between the cracks, finding themselves unable to rebuild their lives where they are. This is entirely preventable, and our Index was launched as a call to action for governments to honor their international obligations and implement straightforward changes to resolve this legal anomaly once and for all”.
To be stateless means not to be considered as a national by any State. Stateless people are often pushed to the margins of society. They are denied basic rights many of us take for granted: to go to school, to work, to marry, to register the birth of a child, to ‘legally exist’.
The Statelessness Index is an online tool that assesses different countries’ approaches to addressing statelessness. The Index enables instant comparison between countries and against international norms and good practices. It allows users to quickly understand which areas of law, policy and practice can be improved by states and which can be looked to as examples of good practice in addressing statelessness.
In addition to Albania, the index project includes 26 other countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.