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Albania: Information on persecution and human rights abuses by the Albanian military against the Albanian people during the 1980s

Publisher United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Author Resource Information Center
Publication Date 15 September 2000
Citation / Document Symbol ALB0001.ASM
Cite as United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Albania: Information on persecution and human rights abuses by the Albanian military against the Albanian people during the 1980s, 15 September 2000, ALB0001.ASM, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3dedf2304.html [accessed 21 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Query:

Was the military of Albania involved in the oppression and persecution of the Albanian people during the 1980s?

Response:

In order to secure his leadership and achieve the extreme isolation of Albania from the rest of the world, former leader Enver Hoxha (Albanian leader from 1944-1989) consolidated power through the use of Internal Ministry security forces. It was these forces, local police and the Sigurimi (state security officers), that were the instruments used in the oppression of the Albanian people. These forces (esp. the Sigurimi) were involved in censorship; monitoring ideology of party members; purging the party, the government, and the military; and the political reeducation of labor camp inmates. The Ministry of Internal Affairs placed personnel domestically and abroad to monitor foreign governments and diplomatic missions to Albania (Albania: A Country Study 1994, 227-239).

Albanian Frontier Guards, though organized along military lines and trained in military institutions, were until 1991 subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, not the Ministry of People's Defense. In addition to the mandate of preventing illegal entry into Albania, the Frontier Guards were also charged with the task of preventing individuals, at times using force, from illegally exiting Albania (Albania: A Country Study 1994, 236).

The RIC found no evidence that the military was involved in the persecution or oppression of the Albanian people. This is very consistent with the structure of Communist governments: The military focused entirely on external military threats while Interior Ministry troops or security forces -- often organized in a military fashion -- focused on internal threats and repression of any potentially revolutionary actions by the people.

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the RIC within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

Albania: A Country Study. 1994. Edited by Raymond Zickel and Walter R. Iwaskiw. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Federal Research Division.

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