European Western Balkans

Final draft of new minority bill sent to Albanian Parliament

ata_maliTIRANA – A new bill aiming to regulate and guarantee protection of the rights and liberties of minorities in Albania has been recently drafted by the government and already forwarded to Parliament, ATA reports.

The new legal initiative represents one of Albanian government’s commitments to address its obligations after the country’s adherence to the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, but also to meet five main priorities set out by the European Commission, including human rights.

The draft, including 22 articles and extensively consulted with the country’s independent institutions and with various societal interest groups, defines groups that are considered national minorities, which include the Greek, Macedonian, Serb, Montenegrin, and Vlach-Aromanian minorities. Based on the national census data, these groups of minorities have been traditionally acknowledged as national minorities.  The new bill acknowledges also Bosnian and Egyptian minorities.

According to the draft that aims to protect the rights and liberties of minorities, “people who belong to national minorities have the right of peaceful gatherings, freedom to organize, freedom of having an opinion and the right to manifest their religion.”

The bill provisions state in areas where minorities represent 20 percent of the population, street addresses and services provided will also be in the ethnic language of the minority.  Furthermore, members of these minority groups that account for no less than 20 percent of the general percentage of population are entitled to receive electoral related information in their ethnic language.

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