UPR outcome of Albania - no law on same sex partnership?

On 19 September 2019, during the 42nd United Nations Human Rights Council, Albania provided information on whether 197 recommendations received during the 3rd Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) enjoy the country's support. We strongly regret that Albania noted 11 recommendations out 197 in total, 5 of them being based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC), stating that in relation with the amendments of the Family Code to provide legal recognition for the same sex partnership, Albania is currently not planning (for the next 4 years) proposals to include these amendments on the Family Code. This means Albania supported only 9 out of 14 received SOGIESC based UPR recommendations.

With regards to this, ILGA World delivered a statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council, in consultation with ERA and the four LGBTI CSOs from Albania: Aleanca LGBTI, PINK Embassy, Pro LGBT and Streha, that previously submitted a written contribution on the position of LGBTI persons in Albania within the UPR process.

We thank the 13 States who made the 14 UPR recommendations based on SOGIESC issues. We commend Albania for accepting 9 of these recommendations and also commend Albania for supporting the extension of the mandate of United Nation Idependent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

However, the situation of LGBTI persons in Albania remains of great concern. No adoption of amendments of the Family Code in order to introduce same-sex partnership is contrary to 2016-2020 National Action Plan for LGBTI Persons and leaves same-sex partners in legal gap and uncertainty, affecting their everyday lives. Designing and implementation of an integrated institutional protection mechanism for this Action Plan is missing and there is no increase in reporting rates of discrimination, violence and bullying towards the LGBTI communities. Harassment of LGBTI children and youth is on-going, and there are no psychological support measures to reduce the dropout rates of LGBTI students. There is still no legal gender recognition available in the country and no trans affirmative health services. Intersex persons remain legally invisible and unprotected, and there is no adequate data available.

We urge the Government of Albania to make their position public on various issues related to rights of LGBTI persons, including family violence, peer violence, access to education, access to health services, access to social services (with special regards to the LGBTI shelter), access to justice, employment, sex workers’ rights, empowerment of the LGBTI youth etc. and to strengthen the services provided to the LGBTI communities.

Albanian LGBTI CSOs will continue to advocate for equality and respect of LGBTI people and stand ready to work with the Albanian governments on the implementation and follow-up of all SOGIESC recommendations.