Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Office of the Spokesman Jonathan Farrar

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

QUESTION: Lambros Papantonious, Eleftheros Typos Greek daily. One on Albania. Do you have anything to report about the human rights for the Greek minority in northern Epirus and Albania, which is under permanent attacks by the Albanian government of Sali Berisha against basic human rights, political freedom and properties, including the church?

MR. FARRAR: I refer you to the Albania report, both the sections on treatment of minorities and religious freedom.


Albania Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2007Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and LaborMarch 11, 2008

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The ethnic Greek minority pursued grievances with the government regarding electoral zones, Greek-language education, property rights, and government documents. Minority leaders cited the government's unwillingness to recognize ethnic Greek towns outside communist-era "minority zones"; to utilize Greek on official documents and on public signs in ethnic Greek areas; to ascertain the size of the ethnic Greek population; or to include a higher number of ethnic Greeks in public administration.

In September the Greek cultural association Omonia presented a request to the prime minister for the registration of population based on ethnicity. The letter was cosigned by the minister of labor and equal opportunities, and a representative of the Human Rights Union, a Greek-focused political party that is currently part of the governing coalition.

While there were Greek-language public elementary schools in the southern part of the country where most ethnic Greeks live, Omonia complained that the community needed more classrooms both within and outside the minority zones, due to overcrowded classrooms and unfulfilled demand. Every village in the Greek zones had its own elementary-middle (nine-year) school utilizing the Greek language, regardless of the number of students, and Gjirokaster had two Greek-language high schools.

In 2006 the government granted an operating license to one school in the south outside the Greek zone. During a 2006 visit by the prime minister to Greece, the government agreed to cooperate in the building of a Greek-language university in the city of Gjirokaster funded by the Greek government.
Note: In albanian press, this chapter has been cencured for the public opinion.

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