Albania failing to protect gays from violence and discrimination

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The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights has highlighted the problems faced by gay, lesbian, trans and bisexual people in Albania.

Thomas Hammarberg’s report to the Committee of Ministers and to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recommends a series of measures to improve the situation, including information campaigns.

The report says that despite equal age of consent and other legal changes, attitudes in the central European nation “have not changed much.”

“This lacking public acceptance of LGBT may be attributable to the Communist heritage and patriarchal attitudes which have perpetuated a discriminatory and repressive attitude towards certain groups within society,” the report states.

“To sensitise people on diversity of sexuality requires education.

“This could take the form of a combination of public campaigns, integration of further sexual education within school curricula and further training of state professionals including law enforcement, judicial and medical personnel.”

Mr Hammarberg said that LGBT people in Albania “are routinely subject to intolerance, physical and psychological violence and seen by many as persons suffering from an illness.”

He met with gay rights groups in the country and human rights workers who said that LGBT people face hostility “not only from the general public, but that there have also been cases of mistreatment by the police.”

The report concludes that the Albanian government make victims of discrimination aware of their rights, and have an independent authority to receive their complaint.

A combination of public campaigns, integration of further sexual education within the school curricula, and further training of state professionals, including law enforcement, judicial and medical personnel is also recommended.

The Council of Europe promotes and protects democracy, educational and sporting co-operation and created the European Court of Human Rights. To read the Albania report click here.

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