Albania: The Union for Human Rights Party/Omonia (1998)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 October 1998|
|Citation / Document Symbol||ALB30206.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Albania: The Union for Human Rights Party/Omonia (1998), 1 October 1998, ALB30206.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6abf468.html [accessed 29 January 2015]|
Omonia (Sociopolitical Organization - Democratic Union of the Greek Minority) was formed in January 1991 (HRW Mar. 1996, 110; World Directory of Minorities 1997, 203). While it participated in the elections of 1991 it was subsequently barred from political participation as a result of a new law that prohibited the "'formation of parties on a religious, ethnic and regional basis' (Law No.7502)" (ibid.). The creation of the Union of Human Rights as a separate political organization was facilitated by Omonia and this new party was permitted by the Albanian Ministry of Justice (HRW Mar. 1996, 1101).
Several names for this political party have been used. The name Unity Party for Human Rights is used by World Directory of Minorities (1997, 203) and Country Reports for 1997 (947). Human Rights Watch refers to the Union of Human Rights (Mar. 1996, 111). Other sources, including the Political Handbook of the World 1997, use the name Human Rights Union Party (11; Athens News Agency 1 July 1996) or the Human Rights Union Party (PBDNJ) ( ATA 3 Feb. 1998).
Just prior to the same elections the chairman of the party, Vasil Melo, outlined that "The PBDNJ today is not the same as that of 1992, when Omonia was a very important party. In the course of the last few years, the PBDNJ has created a new image as an Albanian political party accepted across the country. Our candidates will be from many minorities, Greek, Vlach, Roma, Macedonian, Egyptian [as published], and others" (Kohan Jone 30 May 1997). Later he also described the party as "a center party that may also extend to the right" (Albania 23 July 1997).
In July 1997, it was reported that the Human Rights Union Party was participating in a governing alliance with the Socialist Party (Albania 17 July 1997; 23 July 1997). The party's Leonard Solis received a cabinet position as minister of health and environment (Xinhua 26 July 1997). The other parties participating in the coalition were the Democratic Alliance Party, the Social Democratic Party, and the Agrarian Party (ATA 18 Apr. 1998). The ATA said that this was the first time the party had participated in the government (15 Oct. 1997). Vasil Melo, leader of the PBDNJ, later affirmed that "we are strongly backing the current coalition government" (ibid. 19 Feb. 1998). On 15 May 1998 the party's Kosta Qerama was named as part of the ten-member "central commission for the partial local elections" (ATA 15 May 1998). On 23 September 1998 the Kaleej Times reported that the party was still part of the governing coalition.
There is one report of a bomb having been thrown on 23 September 1998 at the home of Vasil Melo (ibid.). No reason for the attack was given and a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said that "police believe the explosion was an 'act of street villains'" (ibid.).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate 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.
Albania[Tirana, in Albanian]. 23 July 1997. "PBDNJ Chairman Discusses Omonia, PS, New Government." (FBIS-EEU-97-205 24 July 1997/WNC)
_____. 17 July 1997. " Daily Warns of Plans for 'Non-Albanian' Government." (FBIS-EEU-97-198 17 July 1997/WNC)
ATA News Agency [Tirana, in English]. 15 May 1998. "Local Elections Commission Approved Without Opposition Party Names." (BBC Summary 19 May 1998/NEXIS)
_____. 18 April 1998. "Coalition Meets After President Fails to Endorse All Cabinet Changes." (BBC Summary 20 Apr. 1998/NEXIS)
_____. 19 February 1998. "Ethnic Greek Party Expresses Support for Government." (BBC Summary 21 Feb. 1998/NEXIS)
_____. 3 February 1998. "Greece: Simitis Backs EU Membership for Albania." (FBIS-WEU-98-034 3 Feb. 1998/WNC)
_____. 15 October 1997. "Ethnic Greek Leader Tells Greek Premier About Common Interests." (BBC Summary 18 Oct. 1997/NEXIS)
Athens News Agency. 1 July 1996. "Ethnic Greek MPs Divided Over Whether They Will Take Up Seats." [Internet]
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1997. 1998. United States Department of State. Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office.
Human Rights Watch (HRW). March 1996. Human Rights in Post-Communist Albania. Helsinki: Human Rights Watch.
Kaleej Times. 23 September 1998. "Albania: Kosovo Politician Assassinated (Sep 23/KT)." (NEXIS)
Koha Jone [Tirana, in Albanian]. 30 May 1997. "Human Rights Party's Melo Views Importance of Elections." (FBIS-EEU-97-150 30 May 1997/WNC)
Political Handbook of the World: 1997. 1997. Edited by Arthur S. Banks, Alan D. Jay, Thomas C. Muller. Binghamton, NY: CSA Publications.
World Directory of Minorities. 1997. Harlow, Essex: Longman Group UK.
Xinhua. 26 July 1997. "Albania's New Cabinet Formed." (NEXIS)