Complaints to the Albanian Ombudsman have increased by 27.4% since 2013, when Prime Minister Edi Rama’s Socialist Party took power, when compared to the preceding five years.
The number of citizens seeking recourse from the independent institution hit all-time highs, three years in a row between 2016 and 2018, peaking at 5516 complaints per year. This averages at 4683 complaints per year under Edi Rama, and 3399 under the previous government. The lowest number of complaints ever received was 2738 in 2011.
Looking at data from 2018- the year with the most complaints, the majority of them took place in Tirana, followed by Fier, Shkoder, Elbasan, Sarande and Kukes. The overwhelming majority of complaints were towards the Ministry of Justice, followed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In terms of what kinds of complaints were filed and what rights were claimed to be infringed, “freedom of the person, judicial procedures, the right to property, and the right to social insurances” were the most common issues that citizens had. The Ombudsman found in favor of the majority of cases, while ungrounded complaints accounted for around 30% of the total.
The Albanian Ombudsman is the National Human Rights Institution of Albania and is a member of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and it works within the guidelines of the UN Paris principles. Its role is to oversee public authorities in terms of the application of the rule of law and principles of good governance while avoiding maladministration in the delivery of public services.
According to the Constitution, the Ombudsman is there to “defend the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of individuals from unlawful or improper action of failure to act of the organs of public administration.”