UPR report on the situation of children and youth in Albania submitted to UN

CRCA Albania expresses concerns on the situation of children and youth in Albania, asking the Government to take immediate measures to improve the current state of affairs!

Tiranë, 24 September 2018 – A broad network of organizations working for children and youth’s rights in Albania, submitted yesterday their contribution to the third cycle of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations UN. Meanwhile the Government will report before the UN on May next year.

The report was drafted by Child Rights Centre Albania (CRCA), the Albanian Coalition for Education (ACE), Albanian National Youth Network (ANYN), Albanian National Child Rights Network "ACT for Children", the Albanian National Child Helpline (ALO 116) and ECPAT Albania. It focuses on major concerns regarding the protection and improvement of children and youth rights in Albania.

The report underlines that more than 40% of the Albanian population live in a foreign country. Moreover, Albania continues to be one of the poorest countries in Europe. At least 14 percent of the population live in absolute poverty.

Violence affects the lives of many children in Albania. Reports suggest that 1 in 2 children are victims of physical violence and almost 20 percent of adolescents attending public schools complain about discrimination. Around 41% of children have experienced one type of psychological violence. On the other hand, 1 in 5 pupils raise the issue of being threatened by their teachers during different periods and frequencies. The justice system sentences only half of sexual offences committed against children and young people. Albania does not provide any public services to alleviate the traumas caused to children who survive violence.

Although there is a significant lack of data on child trafficking, reports and assessments estimate that more than 5000 children from Albania are unaccompanied or victims of international human trafficking and smuggling. UK law enforcement agencies declared that last year over 600 people from Albania were victims of trafficking - the majority being children and women.

Child safety online is another crucial matter.  44 percent of children have reported that they had daily access to adult pornography, meanwhile 47 percent of children have been contacted by strangers as they were surfing the internet. Law enforcement agencies often complain that they are not able to protect children online because of lack of criminal legislation in place. In 2016, CRCA Albania collaborated with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry Social Welfare, to establish the national platform www.ISIGURT.al for children and the youth to report online cases of inappropriate or illegal material. So far, more than 200 reports have been made to the platform.

Albania is one of the countries in Europe with high youth unemployment. The National Budget for the youth comprises only 0.01 percent of the overall budget. Unemployment is one of the primary concerns of the Albanian youth, and it has led to greater criminality and consequently almost half of sentenced criminal offences are committed by youth, due to the lack of rehabilitation centres and social programs and services.

The report provides various recommendations to ameliorate the situation.

This is the third time that Albania submits a UPR report, intending to observe the current situation of human rights in UN member countries and to present recommendations for improvement. The official report of Albania will be assessed on 6th May 2019 of, during the 33rd session of the UPR Working Group of United Nations Human Rights Council.

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