By March 1997 Albania was in total turmoil and people had taken to arms across the country in protest against the corruption, an authoritarian government and lack of a functioning state. Seven years after the people had overthrown the communist regime from power, the country was still far from living in a democratic state, where human rights of all are respected.
Children were among the most affected from the violence and unrest that followed. Media reports claim that more than 150 children were killed accidentally by bullets and other types of ammunitions. It is under such a background that a dedicated group of lawyers, doctors and journalists, with a extensive working experience on human rights, decided to come together to establish Children’s Human Rights Centre of Albania (CRCA). This year we commemorate our 20thanniversary as one of the leading human rights organisations in the country and the Western Balkans.
20 years is quite a short and long time in the history of CSO’s in the Balkans, where there has never been a well-established civil society. Such an oxymoron can explain the works of almost every organisation working for children, youth and human rights in Albania and Balkans. Lacking democratic values, a strong education system, political elites and geo-political realities made Albania a “perfect” country for political experiments, which still today continue to affect the rights and the welfare of our citizens.
Much has happened to our organisation during this period too. One of the largest achievements of our work and so many other CSO’s, colleagues and friends, public institutions and donors, has been the great advancement of children and youth rights, despite that the country still faces the same challenges that faced in 1997...