OSCE Presence in Albania Supports Holding of 2020 Human Rights and Minorities Academy

The Albanian Human Rights Group (AHRG), in close co-operation with the OSCE Presence in Albania, organized an annual online—on-site 2020 Human Rights and Minorities Academy, from 27 October to 1 November 2020.
Thirteen Academy alumni and five representatives from different minority groups were selected to participate in the activity following an open call for applications shared through official OSCE social media channels.
Participants had an opportunity to cover a wide range of topics, including the activity of the Assembly under the COVID-19 outbreak, the role of the media in guaranteeing the transparency of institutions under the restrictive measures, electoral reform and voter education given the upcoming general elections in April 2021.
Gender equality, the rights of minorities as well as the engagement of youth and civil society in the decision-making process also featured prominently in the event’s agenda.
Throughout the event, participants had an opportunity to interact with the different institutions that play a key role in promoting and preserving human rights and diversity in Albania, including the Office of the People’s Advocate (Ombudsperson), the Office of the Commissioner against Discrimination, and the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Human Rights.
The key message delivered to students by the institutions’ representatives was that inter-institutional co-operation and proactive citizens’ engagement is the best way forward in promoting and protecting human rights.
The Academy closed with a study visit to the Korça region’s Pustec Municipality, to witness how human and minority rights are observed in a local government unit with a predominantly minority population.
The OSCE Presence in Albania will support several follow-up activities in 2021, which were identified after extensive discussion and evaluation sessions at the end of the event. The activities include field briefings at MPs offices across the country, and on-site visits to the Assembly and Independent Institutions. The goal is to bridge any existing gaps between authorities and young activists in the country.
The 2020 Human Rights and Minorities Academy, initiated in 2012, is made possible through the ‘’Support to Parliament and Civic Education’’ project, supported by the Swiss government and implemented by the OSCE Presence and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in close co-operation with the Albanian Assembly.