ALBANIAN DIASPORA DEMONSTRATES IN FAVOR OF POLITICAL AND CIVIC RIGHTS FOR ALBANIANS IN MONTENGRO
WASHINGTON DC, December 8, 2006 – Today the Albanian American Diaspora is holding a peaceful rally in protest against the Montenegrin Ambassador, Miodrag Vlahoviq, participation in a Diplomatic Credential-Breakfast meeting with President Bush at White House. The objective of this protest is to condemn, in the strongest terms, the maltreatment of Albanians in Montenegro, especially the torturing of political prisoners, and violations of civic, economical, political and social life. The Albanian-American Diaspora has debated and successfully revealed how Montenegro has continually failed to adhere with European principles for minority rights; Moreover, they are infringing upon their own constitution.
The current Montenegrin regime has trampled on Albanians pursuit of civil, social, political and economic interests. The Montenegrin Government has repeatedly failed to understand the concept of decentralized government, enabling local citizens to participate and be part of society as a whole. Furthermore, they have stalled on implementing any development of social and academic institution-building to enhance the minority citizenship. In furthering this inequity, the Montenegrin Government has implemented inequitable procedures, hindering the development of its minorities. Despite outrage from the international and European community, Montenegro continues to deny any wrong-doing in Malesia e Madhe and continues to claim that ethnic relations are harmonious. Contrary to the evidence, the Albanian political prisoners are tortured, harassed and denied the basic necessities, which are prohibited by the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel and Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and are also prohibited under the Montenegrin Criminal Code.
Wherefore, The Albanian-American Diaspora demands the following political and civic rights:
Immediate release of all Albanian political prisoners;
Equal access and proportional representation at national, regional and local levels of government institutions;
Respect for self-determination as a genuine right of Albanian minorities in Montenegro, guaranteed by the European and international standards for human and minority rights;
Investigate all collaborators that support discriminatory programs that are geared toward ethnic minorities, who are not representatives of the constituents they claim to represent;
Revisit all state-controlled laws and systems on privatization, where new approaches on privatization should be initiated based on legitimate ownership in accordance with local and European laws;
Establish academic institutions responsible for creating school programs and curriculums that meet the educational needs of Albanians;
Grant a comprehensive autonomous status for the Albanian regions guaranteed by international law, which would prevent the further partition of Albanian lands;
Decentralize the authoritarian control of the central government and create a self-administrative regional government where Albanians are proportionally represented.
Many outlets in Europe and in the United States have reported that the Montenegrin government has deliberately thwarted Albanians attempts to participate in political activities. This can only be seen as denying basic human and political rights, which further, is a direct violation of the Articles of the International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights (ICCPR), the European Charter for Minority Rights and other supplementary international and European laws that protect minorities.
Montenegro has chosen an erroneous path, using Albanians as pretext for division, manipulation, leading to meaningless promises and unequal economic opportunities. Throughout history Montenegro has favored individuals that collaborate at the expense of Albanian rights, creating a suspicious environment where Albanians are forced to emigrate or assimilate into the majority group.
Therefore, the observance and implementation of European norms for minority rights would serve as a precursor for reducing the inequities and ethnic conflicts that continue to be the rule of law in Montenegro.
Today, we urge the Montenegrin government to completely abandon their inherited discriminatory policies and allow Albanians to practice their freedom without impediment. Furthermore, we call upon European democracies and the United States to oppose Montenegro’s institutional structures that are fundamentally inequitable and that have discriminated against its Albanian minorities.
To date, the Montenegrin government mistakenly believes that their current institutionalized discriminatory arrangements against Albanians will allow them to enter Europe’s proven democracy. Conversely, they commit an authoritarian act of aggression, securing all political power in the hands of the central government of Podgorica. The political elites are architects of an illegal institution-building political system designed to exclude Albanians from legitimate participation in society.
The Albanian-American Diaspora continues to demand the rights of Albanians in Montenegro. We are determined and committed to tirelessly and diligently working until Montenegro grants and legally recognizes complete political, civic and social rights for all ethnic Albanians in Montenegro.
“Building Hope away from Home”
For more information, please visit “Malesia e Madhe” at http://www.malesiaemadhe.org/