People’s Advocate of Albania organized a Meeting on “Cooperation of Civil Society with Ombudsperson and Transboundary Relationship” in Pogradec. This was a joint meeting of Ombudsperson Institutions of Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia with representatives of civil society of three counties. The Vice President of Albanian Parliament, Mrs. Valentina Leskaj as well as Vice President of Kosovo Assembly, Mrs. Aida Derguti participated in this meeting as well.
People’s Advocate, Mr. Igli Totozani in his speech emphasized the importance of Ombudsperson Institutions, their crucial role on improvement of governing processes and that their mandate is vast and includes fields such as human rights, rule of law, transparency, anticorruption, etc. Considering the civil society as common partner on their work, on the function of more inclusive work accomplishment, the Ombudsmen consider of great importance cooperation with numerous organizations that comprise this sector.
The People’s Advocate, Mr. Igli Totozani, referring to recent Kosovo practice, proposed that Albanian Prime Minister as well, reports on human rights in the Parliament ones per year. “These rights are priority number one for each state and government, especially for our country and its European agenda,” stressed Mr. Totozani.
Another proposal that has been stressed by People’s Advocate was establishment of mechanisms for ongoing follow up of recommendations issued by this institution and specifically the possibility of periodical meeting of People’s Advocate and the civil society with PM each two months, in order to jointly discuss issues of concern. “We all have the same aim, to be in a position to answer the question: how efficient are we to protect human rights in this country since most important is the result achived”.
Mr. Totozani requested that the Annual Report of the People’s Advocate, as a very important document in the field of human rights, is disclosed in a plenary session in the Assembly, in the presence of civil society.
A part of Mr. Totozani’s discussion was also deliberation on economic and social issues. Mr. Totozani stressed that for some times they requested minimum living standard to be announced publicly, since subventions and economic assistance provided do not suffice to overcome the extreme poverty. “We- Mr. Totozani stressed – have decided to measure this minimum living standard with the assistance of international experts. Economic assistance element is one of the instruments that keeps the poverty in a certain level. We have come to the conclusion that the social system in Albania does not protect poor people. Maximal level of economic assistance is 80 thousand old Lek and there are many families which survive with that insufficient amount of money”. As per criminal policies applied until now, he stated that lack of application of alternative penalties has created social consequences. These are families which do not pay electricity and incarceration of the family holder does not contribute to problem resolving but makes it worse. Other consequences are added to this, such as prisons’ congestion.
On the other hand, Kosovo Ombudsperson, Mr. Hilmi Jashari, considered such meetings of a great importance as well as supported the idea that Annual Report of Kosovo Ombudsperson as well should be reviewed in an open session of the Assembly and should not pass over it just formally as it is precondition for accountability of public administration.
Mr. Jashari exposed his appreciations for the recent decision undertaken in Kosovo relating to PM reporting in the Assembly, once per year, specifically on human rights. Development of human rights indicators is essential for Kosovo Ombudsperson and not simply discussing in general terms. Such issue, according to Mr. Jashari, is a supportive element for the government and the citizens in order to evaluate the progress achieved until now.
Macedonian Ombudsperson Mr. Ixhet Memeti participated in this discussion as well. He emphasized the importance of regional cooperation and joint engagement in resolving the problems which citizens of our countries encounter daily. “Only through appropriate communication and cooperation within our societies and broader, our mission can be accomplished, that is promotion and effective protection of human rights and freedoms”, stated Mr. Memeti. Furthermore, he asked for participation of representatives of local and executive powers in such meetings in the future, in order to further progress on citizens’ problem solving issues through closer relationship with such institutions.
As per emigrant influx with which Macedonia faced, Mr. Memeti emphasized that the institution that he leads has warned on the risk of this phenomenon several years before, but notwithstanding the fact that this issue was raised with concern, the governments did not react timely at local level as well as in terms of cross-border cooperation with Serbia and Greece. The crises, stressed Mr. Mehmeti, has caught these counties in shock.
Mr. Memeti discussed about other problems, such as treatment of confined persons in prisons or the situation in psychiatric centers, centers for development etc. “It is very difficult to identify risks which may result with abuse, thus their prevention is better”, pointed out Mr. Memeti, stressing that impunity of the police officers is of a great concern. There are still cases of exceed of powers with application of violence by the police officers or other officials, stressed Mr. Mehmeti, according to whom this remains a challenge for the Ombudsperson’s work, since impunity brings repetition of such deeds.
Ombudsmen of Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia agreed that the cooperation between these three institutions should be intensified continuously with similar joint activities.
*Borrowed from People’s Advocate of Albania web page
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