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Saturday, 14 May 2011

In Albania, attack on trans people protested

By John Hodgson

The Albanian LGBT rights organisation Pink Embassy issued the following statement on 27 April 2011:
“Pink Embassy, an organization that works to protect the rights of LGBT community in Albania, would like to express its concern about an event that happened this morning,  when the lives  of five transgender people seriously was put at risk because the house where they were staying was set on fire by unknown persons.

“The transgender people were housed in an abandoned house in Durres Road, adjacent to the building of the former Yugoslav Embassy in Tirana. Around 4:30 am, they were being alerted by smoke and flames, which had blocked almost all entry-exit points of the house. In the same house lived a Roma family of seven members five of whom were minors.

“Although fortunately there were no casualties, the transgender community believes that the act of vandalism was committed by a group of homophobes, which should have previously identified their location. The police and firemen arrived on the scene immediately to extinguish the fire and give first aid to the victims. However, the Tirana Police Authority at the time of preparation of this statement had not issued any press release about the event.

“Hate crimes are severely punished throughout the civilized world and Albania cannot make an exception to this. The event in question shows once again that, while Albania has adopted the Law against Discrimination, the life and dignity of the trans-gender community continues not to be respected and put at risk.

“The fact that the Transgender community have not been provided, nor by the Municipality of Tirana or by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, with any opportunity for housing, employment and security, indicates that homophobia is rooted in the mentality of governance in Albania. This is unacceptable for us! The life and dignity of every transgender person is equal with that of every Albanian citizen!

“Taking into consideration this event, we would like to urge the Municipality of Tirana and the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, to react against this act, while provide transgender community in the shortest possible way the completion of their minimum rights for security, housing and food. These rights expect an urgent response thus we expect immediate actions by the Albanian public institutions.

“Such episodes damage community life in particular and society in general. Human rights are equal for everyone.”
No reports of this incident or Pink Embassy’s protest have been observed in the Albanian Media, and no response by the Tirana Police has been noted.

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