Round Table: The Rights of Foreigners in Albania – How compatible is Albanian Legislation with European Acquis and International Law?

European Movement in Albania in partnership with Pontis Foundation organised on 28 April, 2017 the activity focused on “The Rights of Foreigners in Albania – How compatible is Albanian Legislation with European Acquis and International Law?”.

In the framework of the project for Civil Society Development in the Western Balkan, supported by Pontis Foundation in Slovakia, EMA researchers have brought a paper analysing the situation and recommendations for improving the accession process of foreigners in Albania. Together with experts of the field of human rights, and combining this with the refugee situation in Europe, on Friday, April 28th, a round table took place in the surroundings of the European Union Information Network.

During the discussion Mr. Gledis Gjipali, Executive Director of European Movement Albania emphasized the relevance of this topic in regional and European context and given that Albania is a country aiming EU Integration. The issue of migration is found within Chapter 24: Justice, Freedom, Security as one of the most important chapters of EU-Albania negotiation process which will be opened first and will be concluded the last. Mr. Gjipali explained that EMA during these 10 years of work and activities have been focused on topics related with  migration, visas policy, human rights, adoption and implementation of laws and harmonization with EU acquis etc.

After, that Mrs. Nirvana Deliu, one of the researchers of the policy brief explained the reasons why it was chosen such topic for research and which were the main findings of the policy brief. Some of the reasons were related with the fact that Albania aiming the EU membership should continue its efforts and work on adopting and implementing the legislation, while on the other hand the process of approximation is ongoing. Another reason is the fact that migration is a relevant topic for all the region and Europe, and Albania should have its saying as well and its preparedness in case of emergency.

Mrs. Vjollca Meçaj, from Albanian Helsinki Committee as a member of National Commission on Asylum and Refugees Mrs. Meçaj explained in details the function and activities conducted by National Commission on Asylum and Refugees so far and emphasised the issues and seatbacks this newly-established authority is facing. Mrs. Meçaj gave some insights and recommendations how to improve the function of the Commission, as well as regarding the legislation on foreigners and asylum focused mostly on human rights dimension.

Mr. Hortenc Balla, representative from UNHCR gave a presentation on the conditions provided by state authorities for refugees that arrive in Albania and gave a picture of the number of illegal migrant coming in Albania during the last years, the procedures followed to give them the refugee status, which are their main reasons of asking asylum and what authorities are doing. He emphasized the importance of identifying and registration procedure of the foreigners to give them the possibility to have identity documents that will give the chance to integrate in Albanian society, through work, study or trainings. By mentioning some difficulties state authorities are facing, he explained the work of NGOs such UNHCR in assisting state authorities, financing and supporting with human capacities and other important elements in tackling the situation more efficiently and according to law.