Leo Platvoet

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Honouring of obligations and commitments by Albania

Doc. 11115 

25th of January 2007; Leo Platvoet (Netherland, UEL, co-rapporteur)


First of all I want to thank the delegation of Albania  in this Assembly for the fruitful cooperation with the rapporteurs. The delegation, brotherly divided in the governing and the opposition party, offered us a 70 pages comment. We were very grateful for that, because it helped us in updating, correcting and balancing the draft report.

  Albania has made progress in fullfilling the commitments of the Council of Europe. The socialist government, who ruled for eight years, was  after the 2005-elections replaced in a peaceful way by a government of the Democratic Party and their allies. Both governments have contributed to this proces, in which the fight against organised crime, trafficking and corruption is strongly improved and steps are made to an independant judiciary. Only recently amendments are adopted by the parliament in the electoral code and the consititution in order to gain the goal of free and fair elections. This is a very good achievement, because it is just one month ago that there was a deep division between the ruling and opposition party, which seems to lead to a boycot of the opposition of the forthcoming local elections. This is all history now. In the very near future, 18th of February, these elections will take place and hopefully they are a proof-in-practice of the progress that had been made on paper.  

In our report we describe these achievements, but we also put a finger on the weakest links. In the functioning of the judiciary improvements are prepared but not implemented yet to raise the status of judges and to let professionalism and independancy be the guiding principles. The conduct of the police is still criticised by many international organisations and the Committee on Prevention Torture published recently a very critical report about the situation in pre-trial detention centres and prisons. In the field of gender equality the challenges are really great. Forced marriages, violence against women and the weak representation of women in politics are only three examples of situations which has to be changed. Trafficking of human beings, special women and children, still take place for the purpose of  sexual exploitation and forced labour. Children rights are still offended. Too many children lack basic education and child labour is a mjaor problem. According to a report of the Childern’s Right Centre of Albania 50.000 children are working, some as many as 16 hours a day. Homosexuality is not accepted by society, thus there is a widespread discrimination.  

This all leads to the conclusion in the last paragraph of the draft resolution that, although progress has been achieved, the Assembly shall continue its monitoring-procedure, not as punishment, but as a helping hand, as a free advise, towards Albania in fullfilling the honouring of obligations and commitments of the Council of Europe.   I want to underline, and this strongly also the position of my colleague Wiltshire, that we can´t expect form the so called new democracies such as Albania, that they achieve in the field of democracy, rule of law and human rights in 10 to 15 years what our countries –UK and Netherlands- acchieved in 150 years. But what we may ask is that progess is made, not only on paper, but also in practice, because that proves the true will.