Amnesty International has accused Albania of weaponizing counter-terrorism laws to silence critics and crackdown on NGOs.
The international human rights organization said that governments trying to silence critics are using counter-terrorism policies as “invaluable tools with which to target critics and silence dissent.”
It noted that Albania was cracking down on NGOs while “hiding behind the fig leaf” of Financial Action Task Force recommendations. Other countries accused of doing the same include Cambodia, Turkey, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Venezuela.
In Albania, Amensty International drew attention to and condemned the draft law on the registration of NPOS which was tabled in 2020. This was in response to the recommendations given by MONEYVAL to the country. A report by the Global NPO Coalition on FATF noted that:
“The draft law has some fundamental problematic issues which made lead to restrictions on the right to establish an NPO. The Law imposes the obligation to register all NPOs, contrary to the international standards on freedom of association.”
The law was approved in February. Under its provisions, all NGOs must be publicly registered and must publish all information on owners and donors. This information will be available to members of the public.
In February, the FATF acknowledged that some states can take advantage of their requirements and opened a project to mitigate these “unintended consequences.”
Amnesty called on the FATF to do more than just acknowledge these issues. It should not tolerate disregard for human rights issues and laws.
“If the Task Force fails to make this clear, there is a danger that it would allow the continuation of dangerous precedents that will be eyed keenly by would-be authoritarian governments around the world,” they concluded.