Tirana, July 19, 2022 – The Parliamentary Commission for Legislation and Human Rights this afternoon held the final reading of the draft-law “On the establishment of the National Sex Offenders Register in Albania”. The approval in this Commission paves the way for the draft to be approved in the plenary session of the Albanian Parliament. The last version of the draft that was approved today is based almost entirely on the draft-law prepared by the experts of CRCA/ECPAT Albania, presented to the Parliament for approval as a private members bill by MP Erisa Xhixho in November of last year.
“Today is a new day for the protection of children and all victims of sexual crimes in Albania” – said Altin Hazizaj, Executive Director of CRCA/ECPAT Albania – “Our legal initiative and great cooperation with MP’s triumphed against sexual crimes. Today’s winners are the survivors of sexual violence. We expect next week all MPs unanimously to approve our legal initiative.”
The day before, the draft law had already got the approval by two Parliamentary Committees, Health and National Security. Yesterday, Mrs. Borjana Dine, Child Protection Officer at CRCA/ECPAT Albania, on behalf of the organization shared our concerns that some important aspects of the draft law were not included in the draft being discussed by the Parliament. While today, the MPs, based on the CRCA/ECPAT Albania proposals, approved some important additions to the draft.
Draft-Law “On the establishment of the National Sex Offenders Register in Albania”, is a legal initiative prepared by some of the best experts of CRCA/ECPAT Albania. The first attempt to approve the law was made in 2013, but at that time the Parliament agreed to approve changes to the Criminal Code. In 2019, the initiative was re-deposited for approval by MP Fatjona Dhimitri, but due to the parliamentary elections, the Assembly did not have the necessary time to review it. In 2020, with the constitution of the new parliament, the bill was again brought up for consideration.
The purpose of the law is to protect every person from sexual crimes, especially children, with the focus being the prevention of sexual crimes. Almost 80 percent of sexual crimes in Albania are committed against children and adolescents.
CRCA/ECPAT Albania, since the opening of the Barnahus Albania, as a national centre for the protection of children who have survived sexual violence, has placed at the core of all its work the improvement of laws, policies, and services for the victims. Over 80 children who have survived sexual violence have benefited from free legal aid and a wide range of psycho-social services from Barnahus Albania.
The draft law is expected to be approved unanimously by all MPs in the coming days. While CRCA/ECPAT Albania will start its advocacy work for another important initiative, the improvement of the Criminal Code, where a series of new criminal offenses must be included for the protection of children and young people from online and offline sexual crimes.
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