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LGBT rights in Albania

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Albania are protected under a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.[1] Both male and female same-gender sexual activities are legal in Albania, but households headed by same-gender couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-gender couples.

Albania, as a whole, is considered to be rather conservative, especially in public reactions regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights and visibility of LGBT people; however, recent anti-discrimination legislation have made ILGA-Europe regard Albania as one of a very few countries in Europe which explicitly bans discrimination on the grounds of gender identity. [2] Albania has ratified Protocol No. 12 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, moreover Albania was a signatory to the 2007 UN Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.[3]

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity Edit

Albania decriminalized homosexuality in 1995. The age of consent has been equal at 14 for all, regardless of gender and/or sexual orientation, since 2001 [3] [4].

In the summer of 1994 the Government of Albania put forward a draft Penal code under which homosexuality would have remained illegal, but with the maximum sentence reduced to three years. A campaign by the Gay Albania Society within Albania, and international pressure orchestrated by ILGA, in which the Council of Europe played an important role, led to the withdrawal of this draft law.

On 20 January 1995 the Albanian Parliament legalized homosexual relations in Albania. Article 137 of the old Penal code promulgated under socialist Albania,[4] which mandated up to ten years of prison for "being homosexual," has thus been done away with completely.

Recognition of same-gender relationships Edit

Same gender marriage or civil unions are not currently recognised in Albania. Even though Albania's Prime Minister Sali Berisha announced in July 2009 that he would support the recognition of same-gender civil marriages,[5] the proposed anti-discrimination law, unanimously approved on 4 February 2010, never addressed same-sex marriage.[6][7] Gay rights groups praised the new law but said they hoped that Berisha would eventually keep to his promise on legalising same-sex marriage.[8]

Discrimination protections Edit

On 4 February 2010, the Albanian Parliament unanimously adopted a comprehensive anti-discrimination law which banned discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The law bans discrimination in all areas, including employment, the provision of goods and services, education, health care, and housing.[9] Albania is one of few European countries to explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The law also exceeds EU minimum standards, which require that employers refrain from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.[10] According to this law an institution of Anti-Discrimination Commissioner was established during 2010 and the Parliament elected Irma Baraku as head of this independent body.

However, on December 12, 2012 The Alliance against Discrimination and Pro LGBT, two organizations that promote the rights of LGBT expressed their disappointment for what they called "the weak and unprofessional work done by the Commissioner Against Discrimination". [11] According to Xheni Karaj and Kristi Pinderi, leaders of these organizations, the LGBT community "has lost its trust in the institution due to its slow work, raise of the deliberate bureaucratic impediments and its prolonged process of investigation without providing an explanation or an substantial argument".

They argued that out of 9 cases linked to the discrimination of LGBT people directly or through hate speech, only 1 case has been concluded by this institution. The most disputed case of homophobia and hate speech was the case of Ekrem Spahiu Deputy Minister of Defense who stated to a local newspaper: “What remains to be done is to beat them up with a stick. If you don't understand this, I can explain it: to beat them with a rubber stick”. The EU Delegation in Tirana, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and ILGA Europe, the local and international media covered and condemned this statement, even the Prime Minister Sali Berisha condemned it publicly, but the Commissioner failed to follow up the case.[12]

Gay rights movements in Albania Edit

There are 3 organisations in Albanian focused on LGBT rights - the three most well known are Aleanca Kunder Diskriminimit LGBT (Alliance Against LGBT Discrimination), Pro LGBT and Pink Embassy/LGBT PRO ne Shqiperi. Both organizations work to create a better and more equal living situation for LGBT people in Albania.

The Alliance Against LGBT Discrimination is an Albanian non-governmental organization that envisions a free, open and equal Albanian society that embraces diversity and is inclusive of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Aleanca LGBT was created in March, 2009 by a volunteer group of LGBT young people dedicated to improving life and empowering LGBT people in Albania. Aleanca's activities include: community building, awareness raising, advocacy and lobbying.

Pink Embassy aims to strengthen the position of gay community living there. Actually, this organisation is focused on two main areas: Advocacy and lobbying to ensure respect for the rights of the LGBT community through information and education campaigns, monitoring violations of human rights of members of the LGBT, impact on government and policy-making to build effective mechanisms in favor of the LGBT community and creating favorable conditions to facilitate visibility and mobilize the LGBT community.

While Pro LGBT is mainly focused on public awareness on LGBT issues and using advocacy as a tool to improve the situation of LGBT community. Recently this organization launched the human rights news portal "My Story" (historia-ime.com), which is becoming a main source to the mainstream media in Albania for LGBT issues. [13]

In December 2010, the Deputy Commission for Labour, Social Affairs and Health, Tritan Shehu, declared that "homosexuality should be treated by medical staff as hormonal disorder, as well as psychological".[14][15] The LGBT organizations filed a collective complaint with the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination. The Commissioner reviewed the declarations and, after a lengthy delay, on 30 September 2011 reprimanded Mr. Shehu in a letter to Parliament: “Mr. Shehu should avoid discriminatory remarks in the future, which cause an atmosphere of tension and unfriendliness towards the LGBT community in Albania." The Commissioner further recommended that Parliament should grant “all guaranties so that the thoughts, opinions and remarks of the LGBT community are heard, evaluated and taken into consideration, when they are directly involved on specific topics, in order to help the community to enjoy fully its rights and freedoms.”[16]

Public opinionEdit

Social attitudes towards the LBGT community are generally negative.Data released by the ESS reveal that the vast majority of Albanians are conservative and disapprove of the gay and lesbian lifestyle.According to the survey data,53% of Albanians believe that "gays and lesbians should not be free to live life as they wish," the largest percentage holding that opinion in the survey. By contrast, according to the ESS data, countries in Europe like Sweden and Netherlands only 3 per cent of the population believe that gays and lesbians do not have the right to live openly in society.[17]

See also Edit

References Edit

External links Edit


Wikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at LGBT rights in Albania. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with LGBT Info, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.

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