1,031 persons are at risk of statelessness in Albania, finds a study aimed at improving the identification of persons at risk of statelessness

Tuesday, 26 June, 2018

Tirana, June 8, 2018

1,031 persons are at risk of statelessness in Albania - mostly due to difficulties to have their nationality confirmed – according to a study that was presented today in Tirana.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Tirana Legal Aid Society (TLAS), in collaboration with State Minister for Diaspora, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and Social Protection, Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth and Albanian Institute of Statistics, today presented the Report “MAPPING OF THE POPULATION AT RISK OF STATELESSNESS IN ALBANIA”.

The Report is the result of an initiative that was undertaken by UNHCR in Albania and TLAS in 2017 to coordinate efforts with the Government to improve the identification and registration of persons at risk of statelessness.

The mapping exercise has been a joint effort with responsible Albanian government bodies, including the General Directorate of Civil Status within the Ministry of Interior, Directory of Consulates within Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, the General Directorate of Social Services and Directorate for Primary Care within the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Directorate of Pre-university Education, Ministry of Education, the Social Statistics Director at INSTAT, the State Ministry of Diaspora, as well as non-governmental and international organizations.

"Statelessness is a risk that requires inter-institutional mobilization, cooperation and coordination not only between the ministries, various state agencies and civil society, but also interstate agreements with those where the case of Albanians stateless is more obvious" – said Mr. Pandeli Majko, State Minister for Diaspora

The exercise found 1,031 persons at risk of statelessness, mostly due to difficulties to have their nationality confirmed. The total number is likely to be higher, as persons at risk of statelessness often remain invisible and are hard to census. 97% of those recorded as at risk of statelessness in Albania are children. The primary causes reported are: being born outside of Albanian territory (53%), being born to parents who aren’t married (12%), being born at home (10%), and being born in hospitals or maternity units that hold incorrect personal details on the mother (9%). Among those born outside Albanian territories, the majority of children are born in Greece. Roma and Egyptian communities are particularly affected by this phenomena.

 “This study represents a significant advance, as we have developed tools and procedures to identify persons –mostly children- who do not have their Albanian nationality confirmed. The event today represents the political will to make necessary adjustments to laws an administrative frameworks to enable their registry as Albanian citizens.” - said Mr. Pablo Zapata, UNHCR Representative in Albania

At the event, a report “ROMA BELONG - Statelessness, Discrimination and Marginalisation of Roma” was also presented by the Tirana Legal Aid Society (TLAS), the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) and the Institute on Statelessness and inclusion (ISI).

The “Roma Belong” Report finds that the legal framework in Albania, whilst not discriminatory in itself, is not equipped to address the multiple discrimination Roma are likely to experience. Despite this situation and the obvious links, discrimination is often not necessarily seen in Albania as a cause and consequence of statelessness.

 “Statelessness can be considered as the first obstacle from which all other legal, social, and economic hindrances tail. Despite TLAS has struggled against statelessness for more than a decade, the problem is still persistent and pervasive, harming mainly marginalized and poor people. The Mapping Report has found that children are still disproportionately at risk of statelessness, in particular those being born outside Albania. Albanian government must reconsider the pertaining legal framework, and interstate cooperation in accordance with the best international practices”. - said Mrs. Raimonda Bozo, Executive Director of TLAS

Recommendations from both reports stress the importance of enhancing inter-ministerial and cross-border cooperation, ensure access to free legal aid for those more disadvantaged, reduce administrative hurdles for birth registration, and align national legislation to international standards.

Media contacts:
For State Minister of Diaspora: Ms. Rosalba Bejdo, Head of Press Office, Tel: +355 69 83 95 069, Email: rosalba.bejdo@diaspora.gov.al
For UNHCR: M. Artur Marku, Public Information Contact Person, Tel: +355 60 06 476, Email: marku@unhcr.org
For Tirana Legal Aid Society, (TLAS): Ms. Anisa Metalla, Senior Attorney at Law, Tel: +355 67 37 61 994, Email: ametalla@tlas.org.al

You can download the report here >> (PDF, Size 1.9Mb)