Tirana, 28 September 2022 – Today the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child held its 93rd session, in which CRCA/ECPAT Albania had the opportunity to present the major concerns raised by the Alternative Report on the situation children’s rights.
In July 2022, CRCA/ECPAT Albania submitted to the Committee in Geneva, the Alternative Report on the state of children’s rights in Albania from 2014 until today. CRCA is the only organization in Albania that has submitted an Alternative Report every time the state has reported on the implementation of the CRC.
In this session, the representatives of CRCA/ECPAT Albania responding to the questions of the members of the Committee, provided an overview on laws and policies for children, while focused on the state of their implementation in Albania. Other areas of interest were the situation of violence and sexual exploitation of children, the state of their education and policies on children’s health.
Children from Albania were also part of the communication with the members of the UNCRC. For more than two hours, three children from CRCA/ECPAT Albania, who had contributed also to the preparation of the alternative report, talked with the members of the UN Children’s Rights Committee. The 93rd session included reports from countries such as Albania, Finland, Ireland, Jordan, Mauritius, New Zealand, Sweden, Turkey, Oman, Sao Tome and Principe.
After this session the Committee will share with the state party the list of issues, where it asks for more information to be provided on areas where the information is lacking or based on new information raised during the session with children and CSOs.
The Alternative Report drafted by CRCA/ECPAT Albania focuses on Albania’s state of implementation of the four fundamental principles of the CRC: non-discrimination, survival and development, the best interest of the child, and child participation.
Regarding the principle of non-discrimination, the report states that “children in Albania continue to suffer from the violations of their basic right to education. In particular, LGBTI children and young people, Roma and children with disability continue to face open discrimination by teaching staff, parents and students in the public education system, which is unable to either protect or guarantee full respect and enjoyment of their rights.”
The justice system in Albania is still far from meeting international standards for the protection of children and juveniles in contact with the law, especially child victims of crimes. Child victims of sexual violence do not receive any compensation from the Government, even though the Government is responsible for the lack of security that allows crimes to occur against children. The law does not clearly define the state’s obligation to provide all necessary free services to victims of sexual violence. Meanwhile, media has not yet managed to implement the highest standards of reporting to protect child-victims, often at the expense of the child’s privacy.
Extreme poverty and the lack of national anti-poverty and social support programs, especially during the period of Covid-19, has greatly affected the right of the child to survival and development. More than 14% of the population live in absolute poverty, while about 3 thousand children live on the street, thus making them a target of sexual violence and exploitation, including trafficking.
Another concern brought up by the Report is the situation of Albanian children living in war camps in Syria. Despite calls to the Government to protect and return all the children involved in this armed conflict, the number of returned children remains extremely low.
Albania is a state party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child since February 1992 and has periodically reported to the UNCRC. CRCA/ECPAT Albania prepared and submitted the 1st Alternative Report to the UN in 2001. This paved the way for greater engagement of civil society in the human rights reporting system and was followed by other Alternative Reports on conventions such as CEDAW, CAT, CERD and UPR.
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