Albania: Roma community in Tirana protesting for housing
27/10/2014 - A number of Roma families’ from Selita (Tirana) affected from the Ring Road construction together with their fellow citizens and young activists protested yesterday on 27 October at the Ministry of Urban Development and at the Tirana Municipality. The protest aim was to ask both institutions to meet and offer a decent and acceptable solution for the houses of 70 Roma families which will be affected by the investment in the road infrastructure. The Roma families have built their houses during the 1980 and 1990 while the majority of them are still in the process of legalization but due to recent changes in the Law of Legalization of Informal Buildings made on May 2014 they find themselves excluded from the legalization process. This situation does exclude the families from compensation and furthermore will result with their forceful eviction by losing their house and becoming homeless.
The protest started at 11:00 at the Ministry of Urban Development. The protesters did call for solution and presented their problem while the children showed the drawings of their house. After about an hour a ministry staff did call a representative group from the protesters to enter in the building and discuss their requests. In the meeting the ministry staff did mention that the main solution should come from the Tirana Municipality but however there is a possibility that the Government approve a decision that might qualify the buildings for legalization so that the families do receive compensation for the loss of the house. After the talk with the ministry staff the protesters moved to the Tirana Municipality and were able to meet outside the building the Major, Lulzim Basha who was entering the building. After the major listened the protesters he organized a meeting with his staff and gave some specific orders one of which was the meeting of the Tirana Municipality staff with the staff of the Ministry of Urban Development in order to discuss the solution of the problem. The meeting among Tirana Municipality staff, the Ministry of Urban Development staff and a small group of representatives from the protesters has been organized in the same day at 15:30. During the meeting both institutions did agree to work together in order to find a sustainable solution to the problem in order to prevent forceful eviction.
A message for the international institutions that monitor Albania
We as young activists and the Roma community of Selita after months of attempts to keep institutions accountable in order to prevent eviction which would harm our families both psychologically, physically and economically by making us homeless (we do live in modest but normal houses not shacks). We ask for your help to ask these two institutions that which is their plan to respond to our problem. We will try and be consistent in asking the authorities to find a solution before removing us from the home we have built with sacrifice and efforts, but still we need your support which will help to protect our right to housing and to a decent life.
I hope that you can help us in asking the Albanian government and the Tirana Municipality to find the way of cooperation so that this crucial problem be resolved effectively.
Albanian Roma Activist