The protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms rests in the very foundations of the Council of Europe scope and aim. The organisation, together with the European Union, is engaged in supporting Albania in the fight against discrimination and hate speech, as well as in the protection of LGBTI rights and rights of national minorities.
In this context the 1st Steering Committee meeting of the European Union and Council of Europe Horizontal Facility Action: ‘Promotion of diversity and equality in Albania’ was organised in Tirana. This three years’ project aims at supporting Albanian key actors in the field of fundamental rights, as well as the national authorities’ follow up to Council of Europe monitoring bodies’ recommendations – notably those of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance and those related to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
The meeting included an open discussion between important representatives from beneficiary institutions and civil society organisations in Albania, including the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Ombudsperson, the State Committee on Minorities, the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for Education and Sports and civil society organizations, who provided different approaches on the human rights protection in Albania. During the meeting participants discussed the main activities and interventions foreseen during this project, confirming their commitment and cooperation in further advancing the implementation of European standards in the fight against discrimination, protection of national minorities and countering hate speech.
The Deputy Head of Office of the Council of Europe, Mr. Olsi Dekovi, presented a summary of the Action and welcomed the spirit of cooperation among participants, encouraging further involvement of relevant beneficiaries and related actors to the action.