From: Alice Taylor
Intersex, HIV/AIDs Status, Citizenship Now Protected Characteristics Under Albanian Discrimination Law

The Albanian parliament has made amendments to the law “on protection from discrimination” to afford more protection to people living in the country.

As per the amendments, the law will now provide protection paper, based on citizenship, HIV status, and sexual characteristics.

Protected characteristics under Albanian law now include race, ethnicity, colour, language, nationality, political, religious, or philosophical beliefs, economic, educational, or social status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, sex characteristics, living with HIV/AIDS, pregnancy, perinatal responsibility, parental responsibility, age, marital status, place of residence, health status, genetic predisposition, outward appearance, disability, belonging to a particular group.”

One of the new terms included, ‘sexual characteristics’ will provide protection specifically for intersex individuals in Albania.

Changes have also been made to categorise repeated or persistent discrimination or discrimination motivated by more than one reason as a “serious form of discrimination”. It will also consider whether the target suffered serious consequences based on the discrimination against them. The fine for a serious form of discrimination has also been increased to double the amount given for other types of discrimination.

Public authorities will now be obliged to promote all kinds of equality and to actively prevent discrimination during the exercise of their functions.

The position of the Commissioner for Discrimination has also been strengthened as under the new amendments, all public institutions and private entities are obliged to support their work by giving all information requested and guaranteeing access to information promptly.

In terms of the burden of proof, when the complainant presents facts on which they base thee allegation of discrimination, the accused is obliged to provide facts that this does not amount to discrimination.

Cross-sectoral discrimination has also been defined as a form of discrimination that can be due to several factors and is targeted at the same time in such a way they are inseparable.

Suggestions for changes to the law were made by several NGOs and international organisations.