Wednesday, December 28, 2011
For the past 20 years, by way of the Parliament of Montenegro, Albanian deputies have continuously brought forth and legislated for the realization of Albanian rights in Montenegro, however these pleas have been ignored by the central powers of the state. As a symbol of this protest, the Democratic Forum for Integration (DFI) vehemently demands the resignation of all Albanian deputies of the Parliament of Montenegro until the realization of our basic human rights as protected by the Constitution of Montenegro, as well as by international conventions.
We are not demanding anything that is illegal; instead we are seeking fundamental human rights that are guarantees of any democratic state. Refusal to respect such assurances demonstrates the exercise of a tyrannical state.
We will not allow Albanians in Montenegro to be used as slaves!
The “Urban Municipality of Tuzi” is living proof of the ignorance, ingratitude, abuse, and humiliation perpetuated by the ruling party's policies against the Albanians in this region.
The Demographic changes that have occurred in our territories over the past decade is a plan designed by the state and its secret cabinet meetings in efforts to assimilate Malësia and the Albanians in Montenegro. They forgot however, that our votes gave birth to this state. This country is a compilation of all the citizens of Montenegro, whether Montenegrin, Serbian, Albanian, Croatian, Bosnian, Roma, etc., and in no way unique state Montenegrin nationality, without addressing the historical aspect.
The Law of November 2nd of this year concerning the territorial organization of the state of Montenegro foresees Malësia without Municipality status. This law was adopted by the Parliament of Montenegro and clearly shows hatred toward Albanians in Montenegro, which in no way can be justified.
The bill prohibits the use of national symbols and strictly prohibits the legal use of the Albanian flag! I want Montenegrin lawmakers to answer one question: “In what other European country do minorities not have the right to identify themselves using their national symbols?” The flag is a sacred symbol of a nation. People who do not have the right to preserve their identity are threatened to become extinct without a trace of history.
The pillaging of Albanian lands by Montenegrins began 100 years ago and continues today. However, in the last decade the element of assimilation, orchestrated by Montenegrin secret agents, has angered Albanians and has led them to publically declare the following: “We will defend the land and our rights by any means possible.” Their statement illustrates the gravity of the situation, which is more serious than ever before. European lawyers understand the importance of property inheritances and rights, and have given special credence to such issues. They have also declared property to be a sacred and inviolable right as it is stated in Article 1 of Protocol 1 of ECHR (KEDNJ).
I would like to mention some events surrounding 2006, without mentioning the promises that were made before and after that year. In 2006, Malësia was promised full municipality by the administrative capital, Podgorica. The Albanian political parties, united in one single coalition force, were supported by the majority of residents of Malësia and thus gained local power. They pledged that they would not settle for an urban municipality, but instead would continue to fight for full and deserved “Municipality of Malësia.” Nonetheless, Montenegro has refused to grant Malësia full municipal status, whereafter no local Albanian politicians resigned to protest this bigotry and demonstrate loyalty to the constituents that elected them. And at the end, the Montenegrin authorities gave us “Eagle’s Flight.”
A few years ago, local Albanian politicians projected a political referendum by which the local government wanted to achieve a full municipality status for Malësia. Unfortunately, certain individuals abolished this initiative. Today, the current local government of Tuz insists that a referendum needs to be held for the municipality. But today, we must say NO to such a referendum because Malësia has suffered a demographic shift in its population. This is our first justification. If you legally analyze this situation, a referendum is a constitutional right and international law which is used for certain purposes such as the separation of the union or states, the adoption of particular laws and international agreements, but in no way can a referendum be used to resolves the fate of national minorities. In particular, it cannot be used to resolve the fate of the autochthonous Albanian population in Montenegro.
The FDI does not support the referendum in any way or form. The FDI rejects any call for a referendum for a Municipality of Tuz because we are aware of the danger and uncertainty it brings to our region and to our citizens.
No municipality in Montenegro was ever established by a referendum. And so the question arises: “Why should the residents of Malësia participate in a referendum for local government?!” Holding a referendum for Malësia is absolutely intolerable and it should be universally abolished! Holding a referendum for the Municipality of Malësia is in complete contradiction to international law. In 2006, the majority of citizens declared its desire for a full Malësia Municipality!
Because of these aforementioned injustices, which are being carried out by the Capital City, the ill-suited “urban municipalities” do not have created the competency to develop and sustain economic resources, social welfare, and/or social security; wherefore, the DFI strongly demands the following:
- The resignation of all consultants and employees of the “Tuzi Urban Municipality”, that only a full and self-sufficient Municipality be supported and nothing else;
- A call for early elections, where citizens can decide their own fate and in no way to impose policies aimed at eradicating Malësia, such that Malësia will only remain in the pages of history!
- The immediate dissolution of the “Urban Municipality of Tuzi” and the instantaneous formation of the MUNICIPALITY OF MALËSIA;
- The return of property to the citizens of Malësia, including, but not limited to: “Vuksanlekaj”, “Milesh”, “Shipshanik”, and “Dheun e Zi”;
- Petitioning the Constitutional Court to review the autocratic laws passed under the Law on Territorial Organization and the more recent law on national symbols. Given the complexity of these laws, Montenegro cannot postulate to be that democratic state seeking integration with the EU because, if adopted, these laws are nothing short of chauvinist and intended solely to ethnically cleanse (in a non-violent way) national minorities and, particularly, native Albanians.
These problems are not unique to regions primarily inhabited by Albanians, but also found in the districts of Ulcinj, Plav and Gucia, Bar, Rozaje, etc. In Ulcinj issues surrounding property rights and ownership, particularly are concerning the return of the Valdanos lands and marine goods. The remaining districts are so stagnant in their development that they are almost completely assimilated.
We want to help this country, but in order to do so we seek to be equal partners in its democratic transition and not mere servants! Montenegro will be integrated into the EU only when it is prepared to respect the rights all citizens of Montenegro, including the indigenous Albanian population. The integration of Montenegro into the EU means respecting human life and the significance of Chapter XXIV, which is a prerequisite for integration into the EU as it relates to the representation of minorities in public life and observation of state laws on discrimination – such as Montenegro’s outrages law banning the Albanian flag.
We thoroughly understand the EU requirements; therefore we raise our voices to remind Montenegro that their current path towards EU integration is not acceptable.
From this stage today, I appeal to Europe and the United States, declaring that we are citizens of the same world, we are together in this, and we need your assistance to resolve this issue, so we can share with you the benefits of a civilized society. We have reasonable aspirations to guide ourselves towards the right path and remove the obstacles of injustice, which oppresses us, diminishes our existence, and stops any progress that would make us equal. This is the belief of the Albanian youth.
― Anton Lulgjuraj
Posted by Conference Organizer at 10:21 PM
Friday, December 23, 2011
THE ALBANIAN-AMERICAN DIASPORA SUPPORTS THE DEMONSTRATION IN TUZ AND CONDEMNS THE MONTENEGRIN GOVERNMENT IN ITS STRONGEST FORM FOR ITS OBSTRUCTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS TOWARDS ALBANIANS’ FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
DETROIT / NEW YORK / 23 DECEMBER 2011 – THE ALBANIAN-AMERICAN DIASPORA declares its support for the upcoming demonstration in TUZ on 28 December 2011 at 2:00 p.m. local time. This protest, along with the several that are currently being arranged in Detroit, New York and Washington, DC, underscore decades of discriminatory policies against the Albanian minority in Montenegro, which specifically includes denied equal rights, access, and participation in every sphere of social, political, economic and cultural ways of life. The growing public resentment, distrust, and isolation towards the Montenegrin government has been recently exacerbated by the passage of a law that makes it a crime, punishable by imprisonment, to freely display flags, emblems and/or symbols of another nationality without first obtaining prior permission from the capital city, Podgorica. This blatant act of ethnic discrimination defies every international law, treaty, constitutional order and democratic principle conferred onto man. This is punctuated by the organizers of this demonstration who have declared that, “ethnic cleansing via non-violent means continues to be the preamble of Montenegro’s policy against Albanians.”
The general freedoms and natural rights of the autochthon Albanian population have been systematically violated by the broader programmes of Podgorica, which includes dividing and assimilating Albanians to the point where they no longer represent a majority and will ultimately have no chance to preserve their language, values, traditions, and history. Following decades of pleas and petitions for the protection of these standards, Montenegro continues to ignore such requests, hence threatening the very existence and development of a people, which is in direct violation of the Articles of the International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights, European Charter for Minority Rights and other supplementary international and European laws protecting minorities.
The Organizers in TUZ have announced that, “all citizens of Malësia, regardless of religion, territory, and/or political beliefs, to raise their voices in unison on December 28th.” In full solidarity with our families, the Diaspora encourage Albanians in Montenegro to stand firm and bring to the attention of the international community the injustices perpetuated against them by the state, particularly the lack of a legal framework protecting language, national symbol, local institutions, culture, and development. This protest will also bring forth previous demands that the Montenegrin Government fully comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, including the Charter of Local Self-Government by means of granting the region of Malësia a full and comprehensive municipality with all the legitimate and administrative authority of a decentralized self-government. A Malësia Municipality will not solve the overreaching problem facing Albanians in Montenegro today but local self-government is a minimum pre-condition in a European democracy. Albanians must forestall the process of assimilation and the planned expulsion from their homelands and justifiably demand a political arrangement that puts political power into their own hands, where Albanians are allowed to exercise self-rule without the interference from alien obstruction.
Albanians throughout Montenegro should be forewarned that their fate and the fate of future generations rests in their own hands, that no party, state, or individual is going to grant them any relief from the discriminating circumstances they live in, they have been corrupted by self-serving politicians that are now looking to further the agenda of the Slavs, which is to (1) secure power and crush any opposition, (2) infiltrate Albanian lands and create a heterogeneous population where no majority exists, and ultimately (3) launch policies and cultural projects that will discourage expression of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes Albanian institutions, organizations, and groups.
As 2011 comes to a close, it was the year of the “Protester,” and if such declarations for human rights can begin in the most unlikely of places with the “Arab Spring,” this protest must be the beginning of the thaw for the “Albanian Spring.” Let us stand united and reverberate our voices through the halls of parliaments! This is our time! This is our future!
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Posted by Conference Organizer at 6:42 PM
Monday, December 19, 2011
"In Defense of National Identity"
TUZ, MALËSIA e MADHE, Monday December 19, 2011 – Recent developments in Montenegro illustrate once again that "ethnic cleansing” via non-violent means continues to be the preamble of Montenegro’s policy against Albanians. On November 2nd of this year, the Montenegrin Parliament adopted the Law on Territorial Division of Malësia leaving the fate of Malësia and Albanians in the hands of the Government of Montenegro. Hence, we know very well that any plans from the Montenegrin Government to grant an independent Municipal Status for Malësia will be the same as it has been thus far, nonexistent!
Currently, the Montenegrin government is preparing a draft law that strictly forbids the expression of national flags (symbols) by its national minorities, including those that have given their lives in the name of language, flag and identity throughout the centuries.
The discrimination of Albanians continues today through dangerous levels of unemployment, denial of the right of local government organizations (as professed in the Constitution of Montenegro and international agreements), the lack of textbooks in the Albanian language, and the refuted history of the Albanian people, just to name a few.
As such, the aforementioned have forced us to take concrete steps to achieve the natural rights bestowed to us at birth and according to international standards for human and minority rights. Therefore, on December 28th, at 2:00 p.m., in the Center of Tuz, a peaceful protest will be organized in efforts to express dissatisfaction with the current governance of the Urban Municipality of Tuz and the on-going injustices perpetuated against Albanians in Montenegro!
As the state of Montenegro aims to ascend into the European Union, it has continuously failed to respect the canons of democracy and its development.
WE DEMAND RESPECT as protected under international legal apparatuses and domestic laws which guarantee the rights of Albanians in Malësia and the whole territory of Montenegro where they live.
WHEREFORE, I invite all citizens of Malësia, regardless of religion, territory, and/or political beliefs, to raise their voices in unison on December 28th, to take back what was wrongfully taken away from us, to reclaim the right to Local Self-Government / Full Municipal Status for Malësia, where we decide our own destiny, to develop the economic sector that is just and desirable and necessary to the citizens of Malësia, and to protect our national symbols, territories, vineyards, natural resources, and the right to employment and livelihood. There can be no democracy if the cornerstones and fundamental rights and freedoms of man are not met.
Based on these accusations, we rightfully appeal to Europe and the United States that we are your members, we are your sons, and we seek to share with you the benefits of a just civilization by way of democracy. We express good will, we are eager to learn from you, and we have journeyed through the right path in pursuit of equal representation, and you will realize that if the obstacles of discrimination are torn down, Albanians will fight to free themselves from the grip of tyranny.
To the Government of Montenegro, we assert: "Grant Albanians the protection and representation EQUAL to all other citizens in Montenegro! HALT your policy of assimilation and ethnic cleansing! STOP population displacement! STOP changing the demographics of the population of Malësia! STOP the discrimination, because under our inalienable right to vote and live as citizens of the state, Montenegro must be at the service of all its citizens, equally and impartially!”
Democratic Forum for the Integration of Albanians in Montenegro
President - Anton Lulgjuraj
Posted by Conference Organizer at 8:14 PM
Friday, December 16, 2011
The Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Assembly of Montenegro recently endorsed a bill outlining violations of the public order, arguing along the way the conditions for the functioning of public order.
Besides violations such as selling and buying of human organs and using firearms and explosive materials, the new bill also makes it a violation to display flags, emblems and symbols of another state without obtaining prior permission.
The CDM reported that the proposed new law on public order and safety was voted in favor by the majority of committee members, where the overwhelming numbers are Montenegrin. Simply stated, the law provides that if a citizen, "in a public place without permission uses a flag, emblem or symbol of another state, he shall be punished by a fine of €200 to €1,000, or imprisonment up to 60 days.”
Posted by Conference Organizer at 9:16 AM
Monday, December 12, 2011
According to the leaked draft conclusions that the European Council will adopt on Friday, accession negotiations with Montenegro will start in June after the Commission assesses its progress in carying out reforms on rule of law, respect for fundamental rights and repressing corruption and organised crime.
Montenegrin media report that while most EU countries have supported a start to negotiations with Montenegro, France remains a problem. For setting a date for opening of the accession negotiations, all 27 members must vote unanimously.
The European Commission recommended opening talks with Montenegro in October. However, while negotiations with previous applicants began with issues such as science and culture, Brussels has announced it will now take a new approach regarding new applicants from the Balkans.
Would-be members such as Montenegro will have to open talks with the most challenging “chapters” in the accession process. These are chapters 23 and 24, dealing with the rule of law and the fight against organised crime and corruption.
Posted by Conference Organizer at 9:19 AM