Albanian Roma Seek Protection Against Eviction
A group of Roma organizations on Wednesday presented Albania's parliament with a proposed amendment to the law on the legalization and urbanization of illegal construction, which would protect Roma camps from forced evictions.
“We seek a special provision that recognizes the existence of shacks, where many Roma families live... if a legal need arises to relocate the informal settlement,” the Roma Youth Movement and two NGOs, Ushtun and Voice of Roma in Albania, said in a joint statement.
“Such an amendment would be a protective mechanism for these families and would be a step in the right direction towards an adequate solution for the housing issue,” they added.
The law on the legalization and urbanization of illegal construction, which took force in 2006, aims to legalize more than 270,000 illegal builds.
However, it does not recognize shacks as proper constructions.
The fight against discrimination and protection of Roma rights is one of 12 key priority areas for Albania set by the European Commission as preconditions for Albania to obtain candidate-country status.
Despite that obligation, activists say the authorities have done little to protect Roma communities from forced eviction, particularly in urban areas targeted for development. Since 2011 there have been two cases of forced evictions of Roma camps in Tirana alone.