Tirana, 5 November 2019 - CRCA / ECPAT Albania, today sent an open public letter to the President of the Republic of Albania asking him not to decree the new Law on Youth as it is in open violation of human rights protected by the Constitution of Albania and international conventions ratified by our country.
On November 4, 2019, the Albanian Parliament approved the draft law "On Youth" with 79 votes, sending it to the President to decree. CRCA / ECPAT Albania, as the only civil society organization specialized in the field of youth laws and rights, has followed with concern and publicly denounced the entire process of approval of the law.
Referring to the articles of the draft law “On Youth”, our concerns are in the following aspects:
1. If the Law on Youth can enter into force, it will ultimately put under direct control of the Government, the Minister of Education and the Mayors, 681,548 young people aged 15-29 in Albania, allegedly benefiting by this law! Given the fact that both the central and local executive power is entirely controlled by a single political party, this automatically puts all young people under the control of the Socialist Party, which is in direct contravention of the Albanian Constitution, which guarantees that the freedom of organisation, freedom of speech and the right to participation, are out of the control of political parties or the Government;
2. The law is in open contravention of basic human rights, protected and guaranteed by the Albanian Constitution, as well as the human rights conventions of the UN and the Council of Europe. The law illegally places powers that belong to young people, in the hands of the Mayors and the Minister responsible for Youth.
3. The law has a serious lack of "checks and balances" between the rights and responsibilities of public authorities, and the young people who are rights holders and beneficiaries of this law. In the current situation, the law does not create any possibility for young people to hold institutions accountable because the respective Ministers and Mayors, are given the right to choose without any criteria the organizations they want to work with, as well as funding them. This creates all the possible mechanisms to manipulate young people and their organisations. On the other hand, the law has no control mechanism over how organisations are selected, which organizations are funded, and who is accountable for the process.
4. The law doesn’t establish any institutional, local or national structure and mechanism that would facilitate youth work and accountability of public officials. It also does not guarantee either the right to decent employment for young people. According to MAPS Report, about 30% of young people in our country are neither employed, educated, nor trained.
5. The law shows fundamental shortcomings in terms of its compliance with Council of Europe Acts and the European Union acquis, while Albania has long aspired to open EU membership talks.
CRCA / ECPAT Albania hopes that the President will send back to the Parliament the "Youth Law" for reconsideration, thus preventing a massive violation of the rights of more than 23% of population in Albania.