Tirana, 15 August 2018 - Through this open Call addressed to the Government and the Parliament of Albania, the Child Rights Centre in Albania (CRCA), one of the main organizations for the rights of children and young people, would like to express its position and proposal for the need to establish the Ministry of Family as an institution responsible for the protection and empowerment of the family, in particular of women, children and young people, as well as the implementation of an urgently needed action plan for family support and empowerment in Albania.
Although Albania has made significant improvements to the legislative and policy framework for the most vulnerable groups in society, data repeatedly shows that the family is under constant threats of a number of social factors that seriously jeopardize its welfare. The Constitution requires the Parliament, Government, Municipalities and the justice system to care for the family, providing much needed assistance, support and protection, especially for women, children and young people.
Albania is in a dramatic situation concerning the aging of the population.According to official statistics during the last 27 years, childbirths have dropped drastically. In 2017 there were only 30.8 thousand births, the lowest in record, with a decline of more than 62% of births compared to 1990. The UN and INSTAT predict in their most pessimistic version that Albanian population will count 860 thousand inhabitants in 2100, from 2.9 million that is the current population.
Albania continues to remain one of the poorest countries in Europe.According to the World Bank, almost 14% of the population continues to live in absolute poverty, while almost 47% of the population lives in relative poverty, compared to 22 per cent in the countries of the region. By the end of 2017, according to INSTAT, there were 327,735 or 11.4% of the population claiming full or partial social benefits.
Girls and women account for almost half of the populationin Albania with about 1,431,714 people (INSTAT). Domestic violence continues to be widespread in all strata of society. According to INSTAT and UNDP, over 53% of them, or about 750,000 women and girls in Albania, claim to have been victims of domestic violence at least once in their lives.
The reality of children is even worst.The number of children and adolescents under the age of 19 reaches approximately 721,586 persons (INSTAT). About 100,000 children live in poverty. Over 50,000 children, aged 6-15 are forced to work to ensure their survival. Over 60% of children in Albania according to the BECAN study have experienced at least one form of violence, including sexual abuse. About 11% of children claim to be victims of sexual violence and harassment by an adult.
The situation of young people is equally disturbing.Young people aged 15-29 account for about 25% of the population, with about 695,836 persons (INSTAT). In the most recent reports provided by the Albanian National Youth Network, 26 percent of youth in Albania are unemployed, ranking the country one of the first in Europe (according to ILO). The National Youth Index in Albania found that 81% of youth organizations said that they had no support by the Government for promoting youth employment. About 70% of young people want to emigrate from Albania and about 80% of them do not have access to any youth friendly service. Over 46% of prisons inmates are young people.
Based on all these facts and data, we ask today the Albanian Parliament and the Government to take the following measures:
- Establish the Ministry of Family, as a national institution responsible for the care, protection and empowerment of the family in Albania and all its members.
- The urgent open a National Program for the support of the family, women, children and youth in the country, to enable the establishment of the community-based services for the family in every Municipality of Albania;
- The Albanian Parliament, at the opening of the new legislature in September 2018, should look to immediately make legal improvements that wold enable the full payment of maternity leave for at least 1 year for mothers and fathers, combined with the establishment of Child Care handouts for every family that has children at least until the age of 10.
While Albania does not yet have such an institution, over 30 countries have already an established Ministry for Family. Among them are countries such as Turkey, Croatia, Malaysia, Peru and India, as well as Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Korea etc.