Religious extremism and intolerance have no place in the Albanian Parliament!

Tirana, 20 July 2016 – PINK Embassy, ​​one of the leading organizations for the rights of the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) in Albania, through this public statement requires to express strongly its indignation to the change of position held recently by the two main parliamentary parties in Albania, the Socialist Party and the Socialist Movement for Integration, in connection to their withdrawal of support that they had given to the inclusion in Article 18 of the Constitution the protection from discrimination, among other grounds, based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These changes would had brought the Albanian Constitution a step closer to fully respecting human rights and ensuring equality before the law for all citizens.

This morning, the major media sources in the country, reported that the main representatives of the two governing parliamentary parties at the Special Commission for Justice Reform, had agreed to withdraw their support for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity among grounds for protection against discrimination. The change of this position was due to pressure from the religious communities in Albania, especially the Muslim one and discriminatory and hate language used in the last meeting of the Parliament by the MP Mesila Doda, an open and major defender of the catholic religion in Albania.

Regardless of the fact that the proposed constitutional changes were not required or proposed by the LGBT community and their organisations in the country, they took wide support from progressives at national and international level and zealous defending from a number of representatives of both political parties in the Assembly. While waiting for these changes to be adopted tomorrow, joitly with the entire package of proposed changes of the Constitution, the withdrawal of the support, shows that the influence that religious extremism and intolerance in Albania has already passed every prediction. Giving up to religious demands once again is showing that Albania is seriously threatened by religious intolerance and extreme impact that traditional religions have on secular public life in Albania.

Putting up the LGBT community to such a situation of inequality before the law compared to different social communities is the best indicator that Albania continues to openly discriminate the LGBT persons. This is unacceptable for PINK Embassy.

The political submission of the two parliamentary parties made towards religion communities in Albania, it has casted a serious shadow of doubt on the independence of the Albanian state and secularism! Today members of the two political forces have lined up alongside all those who promote intolerance and religious extremism.

Given this situation, PINK Embassy urges every Member of the Albanian Parliament, who is in support of equality and human rights to not vote on constitutional changes that do not involve among others the protection against discrimination of LGBT persons. On the other hand we will pursue every legal avenue that makes it possible to achieve true equality for every LGBT person in the country.


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