Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why we came to Washington DC ...

The White House – Washington, DC
June 23, 2008

Viktor N. IVEZAJ

ON BEHALF OF … the organizers of this event, the several Albanian-American associations throughout these United States, political and social activists defending minority rights, Albanian student organizations, and civic organizations – representing Detroit, New York, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Florida, Connecticut, and New Jersey,

We welcome you to Washington, DC!

Today we have gathered at the footsteps of Washington to highlight the continued inequalities besieging Albanians in Montenegro. With a single voice, we appeal to our United States, the international community, and the several institutions designed to defend those silenced by their state and oppressed because of their ethnicity.


WE ARE HERE for those who cannot speak out against state oppression and ethnic discrimination – for fear that their voices will be exaggerated and used against them to create a climate impregnated with fear, confusion, uncertainty, and corruption;

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot participate in social, political and economic institutions – for fear that their efforts will be for not, and if they choose to participate, it is by the rules of the majority, with no institutions, assemblies, and infrastructures to call their own.

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot achieve higher learning without assimilation – where the only means to academic success is to read Montenegrin, write Montenegrin, speak Montenegrin, and think Montenegrin – a program designed to construct a Montenegrin using Albanian parts.

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot attain equal employment without emigration – that if you want to feed your family, you pack up your belongings and leave your ancient homeland for a place that is less forgiving, where the politics of forced emigration render Albanians in Montenegro the least employed ethnic group in proportion to the state’s total population. It should be no wonder that less than 0.5% of Albanians in Montenegro are employed in state institutions.

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot reap the rewards of their labors – where instead Montenegro continues to profit from the toils of Albanian entrepreneurship; guilty of squeezing the fruit out of their vineyards, smoking the leaves in their tobaccos, and sacking the revenues from their salt factories.

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot defend their territories and homes from state confiscation – where our lands in Ulqin, Tivar and other coastal towns are illegally seized and monopolized by state-owned enterprises for financial gain by way of tourist revenues, where the kickbacks to Albanians are NISHTA!

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot worship in their mother-tongues – but instead have to adopt and inherit the language of the majority, because GOD, we are told, does not understand Albanian.

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot enjoy the benefits of local self-government – with no local institutions to call their own, with no local government to appease their grievances, with no local welfare programs to entrust in, with no budget, no municipality, no infrastructure, no electorate, no candidates, … therefore NO PROGRESS!

WE ARE HERE for those who cannot receive equal protection under the law – where instead judicial institutions are influenced by individuals for their own self-interests, that are ill-equipped to implement fairness and equal justice for all its citizens, and instead have produced a dangerous precedent where 16 Albanians currently detained in Spuz do not stand a chance at a fair trial, with charges unproven and unsubstantiated, under judicial proceedings besieged by corruption, inconsistencies and obstruction of constitutional, state, and international norms. And so “Eagle’s Flight” is threatening to tear the fabric of a civil society unless the whole multi-ethnic citizenry can benefit equally under the protection of the rule of law.

We have gathered here for those who CANNOT achieve the most basic human rights as bestowed upon us at birth, protected by international laws, guaranteed by state institutions, and implemented by good governance.

We are not asking Montenegro to give us our rights, we are asking that Montenegro PROTECT our rights.


We demand that Montenegro:

Initiate equal rights and prohibit discrimination with programs that incorporate all people regardless of social, economic, political, linguistic, religious, and/or ethnic background;

Implement policies and programs aimed at leveling the playing field for Albanians in pursuit of jobs, admission to universities, and even government contracts;

Encourage public institutions such as universities, hospitals and police forces to be more representative of the population. Employ Albanians as judges, police chiefs, and medical directors in areas where Albanians constitute a majority. This will ensure public trust, public confidence and equal representation.

Establish a Commune in Malësia and create policies to provide employment and long term welfare to Albanians at the municipal level. This would no doubt encourage social, economic, and political development, bring government closer to the people and embolden a minority group that has been disenfranchised for so many years.

Redistribute a fair proportion of the national wealth in areas where Albanians comprise a majority, such as 85% in Ulqin and 92% in Malësia. Reinvestment in these regions guarantees increased wealth, growth, development and public consumption. The returns on these investments can be invaluable.

Encourage equity ownership, representation at both employee and management level, procurement to initiate Albanian-owned businesses and social investment programs, amongst others.

Create government-sponsored programs to educate the majority about the important contributions that Albanians bring to the country, including diversity, rich history, aptitude, and an unsurpassed work ethic – characteristics that can build a country and not break it apart.

Tear down state monopolies and encourage private ownership. Give back to Albanians those enterprises that were wrongfully taken away and given to corrupt government elites driven by personal gain instead of public service.

We ask Montenegro to read their Constitution – AGAIN – and adhere to those Articles set forth calling for these aforementioned protections. And in doing so, we ask that they protect the rights of our Fathers, our Brothers, our Sons and our Uncles who are counting the days until they are reunited with their families. For if their constitutional rights are protected and the rule of law is adhered to, your judicial system should rightfully declare: NOT GUILTY.

In Montenegro’s pursuit of Euro-Atlantic integration, the road travels through Malësia, winds through Plav & Gusi, cuts through Ulqin, stretches around Ana e Malit, passes by Kraja, and descends upon Tivar.

Unless these routes are paved equally, Montenegro’s passage towards Euro-integration will be bumpy indeed. Nonetheless, we will do our part. Now Montenegro, can you do yours’?

Sunday, June 15, 2008



WASHINGTON DC, June 14, 2008 – The Albanian-American Diaspora, through its several organizations throughout the United States, have joined efforts to call together a peaceful demonstration to highlight the continued illegal detention of 16 Albanians currently detained on charges unproven and unsubstantiated, under judicial proceedings besieged by corruption, inconsistencies and obstruction of constitutional, state and international norms. We are demanding an end to violations of civil liberties, constitutional and human rights, which have consequently led to sharp cleavages in the social, political, and economic lives of Albanians throughout Montenegro. These infringements to the inherent rights of Montenegro’s largest ethnic group have led to the dubious arrests of 16 Albanians in the case contemptuously depicted as “Eagle’s Flight.” The Albanian-American Diaspora calls upon all Albanians and supporters of human rights to come together and proclaim an immediate end to these human rights violations at the following venue:

Washington, DC
June 23, 2008 – 10:00 a.m.

Montenegro’s fragile democracy is being challenged by its inability to carry out the rule of law, where judicial institutions are influenced by individuals for their own self-interests that are ill-equipped to implement fairness and equal justice for all its citizens. Given the intricate network of party loyalties between judges, prosecutors, police and government elites, these corruptive associations have produced a disturbing climate where Albanians do not stand a chance at a fair trial, further evidenced by the following inconsistencies in their very own legal standards surrounding the case:

* This case against the accused cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt because the case necessarily relies upon the illegal conduct and perjured testimony of Police Officers
* The trial prosecutor’s involvement in human rights violations renders her biased and she lacks the objectivity and independence required by the State Prosecutor’s Law to be the trail prosecutor.
* Under Montenegrin law, the accused are entitled to five judges, however only three judges have been assigned to “Eagle’s Flight” in efforts to reduce the probability of dissent.

These above-mentioned violations have disenfranchised an entire ethnic group, where public participation in political, societal and community associations are discouraged and manipulated by the majority. In the same vein, the emergent distrust in government and state institutions, including corruptive law and judicial enforcements, are threatening to tear the fabric of a multi-ethnic society. As such, policies that favor government abuses and corruption, including confiscation of land and natural resources, have led to assimilation and forced emigration as the only means of survival, thus rendering the Albanians in Montenegro the most threatened national minority in the Balkans.

Acknowledgement of the aforementioned neglect to human rights have been clearly recognized and documented by international monitoring agencies, including the U.S. Department of State, Helsinki Committee of Montenegro, OSCE, European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, Amnesty International, and Freedom House.

The magnitude of this rally has gathered the support of all Albanian-American organizations representing and working for the inherent rights of Albanians in Montenegro. This show of unity further underscores the need for international mediation to put a stop to the growing disparities between the majority and minorities in Montenegro. As such, this call for unification is extended to the Albanian-American community throughout the United States and abroad. Join us as we demonstrate for those who cannot. Together we seek Equal Rights and Equal Protection under the law for all Albanians in Montenegro.


Albanian Catholic Churches
Albanian Islamic Centers
Albanian American Association
(Shoqata Malësia e Madhe)
Albanian American National Council
Albanian American Student Organization
Albanian Community Television
Albanian TV of Michigan
First Albanian Bektashi Monastery
Homeland Unites Us
(Levizja Atdheu na Bashkon)
Humanitarian Fund “MALËSIA”
(Fondi Humanitare “Malësia”)
Plavë Guci Foundation
Shoqata Ana e Malit
Shoqata Ded Gjo Luli
Zani Atëdheut (Homeland Voice)

Friday, June 06, 2008



FOR THE EQUAL PROTECTION OF: Human Rights • language • culture • employment • education • local self-government • Municipality of Tuzi

FOR PROTECTION FROM: Illegal detention • torture • ethnic profiling • government abuse/corruption • assimilation • forced emigration • Confiscation of land/territory & natural resources



10:00 a.m. U.S. State Department 2201 C Street NW
11:00 a.m. White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave
12:30 p.m. Montenegro Embassy 1610 New Hampshire Ave
2:00 p.m. U.S. Capitol Upper Senate Park/Taft Memorial Park



646-242-7163 – 917.667.7471 – 718.496.7710

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Programme ...