Albanian Helsinki Committee: Human Rights Violated in Albanian Prisons

Yesterday the Albanian Helsinki Committee (KShH) released its annual human rights report on Albania. During 2016, the KShH treated 290 human rights complained, and has reported 325 complaints to state institutions. Moreover the KShH executed 188 verifications, including monitoring visits to prisons, police cells, and healthcare institutions, among others. It also contributed legal opinions regarding a total of 16 draft laws, 7 of which dealt with the judicial reform.

The report sketches a pessimistic situation of the Albanian judiciary detention system. Over 64% of the complaints received came from people in preliminary detention or prison, whereas 21% complaints related to unsound practices in the judiciary system. Also the detention of mentally ill people causes serious problems:

The accommodation in the prison system of about 175 mentally ill people under the medical measure “forced treatment in a medical institution” consists of a serious violation of their rights and has caused a worsening of their mental health situation. On of the issues that we are representing at the [European Court of Human Rights] in Strasbourg aims at the solution of this endemic problem which the Albanian state hasn’t been able to solve effectively for the past 20 years.

The report also mentions the absence of sufficient legal protection of the Egyptian and Roma minority communities, and that in spite of the approval of an LGBT Action Plan by the government, institutional discrimination by public servants remains an issue.

As regards the situation in the judiciary system, the KShH notes that high officials are still being let off the hook:

The monitoring completed in the judiciary system shows that the impunity of high-level officials as regards criminal acts in the field of corruption and abuse of office continues to be a problem.

Finally, the KShH notes that there continues to be a widespread problem of domestic violence against women and against children:

Also the level of violence against children during 2016 has been worrying, especially in residential centers for children [orphanages], the pre-school system and lower levels of education. The coordination between the responsible institutions for the referral and treatment of these cases and legal protection has not always turned out to be effective.