Tirana 14 December 2016 – A round table discussion: “Let’s Talk Openly about LGBTI rights brought together civil society and human rights activists, LGBTI community, public institutions, the Office of the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination, media representatives, to discuss the challenges, achievements and future interventions to enhance the respect for LGBTI rights in Albania.
“Despite positive steps, much remains to be done. Marginalization in the workplace, violence in the family, classroom bullying and exclusionary laws still persist and must end. Discrimination starts early and runs deep. Ending marginalization and exclusion of LGBTI people is a human rights priority – and a development imperative. Achieving the full respect of rights of LGBTI people is fundamental to the world’s achievement of the global 2030 Agenda. There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals all based on a single, guiding principle: to leave no one behind. We will only translate this principle into action if we reach all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity”,” said Brian Williams UN Resident Coordinator in Albania.
During the event, the findings of a Report “Being LGBTI in Eastern Europe – case of Albania” will also be presented. The report is commissioned by UNDP with the support of USAID.
According to the Report public attitudes towards LGBTI persons are still mostly intolerant. For example, in Albania 92 percent of survey respondents declared that they would not interact with LGBTI people, 48 % of the respondents believe homosexuality is a sickness, and half of the respondents believe that homosexuality is imposed by the West. The study shows that despite substantial legal protections in anti-discrimination, discrimination against LGBTI people persists. These include denial of the right to marry and have a family; the right of reassigned gender surgery for transgender people; and the right to self-determination in relation to bodily integrity for intersex people.
The report calls for the need to a) further improve legislation in compliance with SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity); b) enforce the existing legislation and the national action plan for the advancement of the rights of the LGBTI persons; and c) strengthen advocacy and partnership with LGBTI and HR CSOs.
During the event, a Platform called Outspoken was also launched. OutSpoken is a multimedia gallery exploring the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons in the Western Balkans. OutSpoken celebrates speaking out against violence, discrimination and marginalization. Through its stories of adversity, resilience and triumph, it nurtures compassion and connectedness to illuminate our shared humanity.
Last year, Albania became the 28th country in the World to join “Free and Equal” Campaign of by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and implemented in partnership with United Nations Development Programme
The Campaign aims to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination and to mobilize people in Albania to stop the violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. LGBT persons are entitled to live their lives free from fear, violence, discrimination, and inequality.
As part of the campaign a number of multimedia products have been released, which call on all people to respect the rights of the LGBTI community. Around 40 journalists have been trained on how to ethically and adequately reports issues related to LGBTI rights. The Campaign also included holding workshops with young people across Albania to convey a key message: LGBTI rights are human rights.
UNDP Albania and other UN Agencies through several programmes are assisting Albania to address the challenges that still remain including through constitutional, legislative and policy changes, strengthening of national institutions, and education, training and other initiatives to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of all LGBTI people in the country.
This event was organized in the framework of the UN Free and Equal campaign of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in cooperation with UNDP, Commissioner for Anti-discrimination and the PINK Embassy in Albania.