Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

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Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date28 September 2010
Citation / Document SymbolALB103572.E
Cite as Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Albania: Situation and treatment of homosexuals; state protection and support services (2007 - September 2010), 28 September 2010, ALB103572.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4dd10e342.html [accessed 2 May 2013] DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States. Homosexual acts were decriminalized in Albania in 1995 (Balkan Insight 24 June 2010; Pink News 24 June 2010; Freedom House 2010).

Media sources and human rights organizations indicate that there are high levels of homophobia in Albania (Human Rights Watch 16 Feb. 2010; The Human Rights Brief 3 Mar. 2010; Balkan Insight 5 Dec. 2007). Media sources report that the gay community has been primarily underground (BBC 30 July 2009; Reuters 5 Feb. 2010). In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate on 10 September 2010, an LGBT rights activist from the US with a Ph.D. in Anthropology, who lived in Albania, participated in the US embassy speakers program and was a founding member of the Tirana-based LGBT rights organization Aleanca Kunder Diskriminimit te LGBT (Gay-Straight Alliance Against LGBT Discrimination), stated that there are no gay clubs or neighbourhoods in Albania and that hardly anyone is public about being LGBT. According to Balkan Insight, an online publication produced by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), most homosexuals in Albania do not reveal their sexual orientation, "fearing that if it is discovered their safety will be endangered" (24 June 2010).

According to human rights observers, LGBT people in Albania are subject to "intolerance, physical and psychological violence" (Balkan Insight 24 June 2010; Human Rights Brief 3 Mar. 2010; Council of Europe 18 June 2008, No. 96). The United States (US) Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009 indicates that during 2009 there were cases where individuals were beaten, harassed, fired from employment, or denied services because of their sexual orientation (US 11 Mar. 2010, Sec. 6). Balkan Insight similarly states that those who are open about their sexual orientation have faced job loss, threats and possible rejection from their families (5 Dec. 2007).

Country Reports 2009 states that in June 2009, a man pled guilty to murdering his brother because of his sexual orientation, and was sentenced to eight years in prison (US 11 Mar. 2010, Sec. 6). Balkan Insight reports that in September 2009, a transgender person was stabbed to death in Tirana (21 Sept. 2009). The LGBT Rights Activist corroborated that these two murders of LGBT people occurred in 2009 (10 Sept. 2010). She also reported that a woman was injured in 2010 when she was stabbed because of her sexual orientation (LGBT Rights Activist 10 Sept. 2010). In addition, she noted a case where a gay man was in hiding for one and a half years because of death threats made by his family and a case where a woman was beaten by family members and then confined to her home when they discovered that she was a lesbian (ibid.). However, she indicated that there has been almost no research or data collection on LGBT issues or hate crimes in Albania (ibid.). She stated, "[m]uch of the mistreatment and violence faced by LGBT people is not documented. There are few NGOs that document these issues, there is little governmental interest, and most LGBT people would be too fearful to report cases of discrimination, violence or mistreatment" (ibid.).

According to the LGBT Rights Activist, transgender people face particular difficulties in Albania; the few people who are visibly transgender are regularly denied services...
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