Tirana, 14 December 2020 - For five days, Tirana and other cities of the country have been involved in civil protests, due to the murder of a 25-year-old young man by a police officer. The demonstrations began with gatherings of many young people, including many children and adolescents, who responded to calls on social media to demand an investigation into the murder and the resignation of senior representatives of the Police and the Ministry of Interior.
As these protests continue every day, CRCA / ECPAT Albania has been informed that many of the juveniles who have been part of these demonstrations, about 57 of them, have been detained and escorted by the police to inappropriate police stations, which are almost all built during the communist era and do not meet international standards of children's rights.
CRCA / ECPAT Albania contacted State Police leaders regarding the involvement of many children and adolescents in the protests of the last four days.
Although we shared the common concern that children and adolescents should not be part of peaceful or violent protests, we are equally concerned about the aggressive behaviour of police officers, especially some of its special teams, towards children, so we have sought to eliminate as much as possible the detention of children under 14 years of age and the strict enforcement of the Juvenile Code for those over 14 years of age!
We also think that every child and adolescent have the right to protest and that this right cannot be restricted to them, except when the police seriously believe that the lives of children are endangered.
On this occasion we call on both the police and parents, it is good to think about the well-being of children and their safety. We are ready to facilitate any kind of dialogue between children, families and the police, which would strengthen respect for the rights of the child and their protection.
We also believe that the time has come for Freedom of Demonstrations as a basic constitutional right not to be placed under political pressure from the Government, using COVID as a reason to not allow any protest or manifestation.
Based on this in the coming days we will organize a special online Forum also based on the Protest of these days, to analyse but also recommend solutions and legal proposals to the old law of Parliament!
We invite all parents to protect their children first and foremost in this situation we are in, as medical as well as emotionally charged, etc.