THE BELGIAN REPORT ABOUT BLOOD FEUDS DRAFTED BY THE OFFICE FOR REFUGEES AND STATELESS PERSONS IN BELGIUM
In March, the Federal Board that receives and decides upon asylum claims in Belgium has met Operazione Colomba’s volunteers in Shkodër, Albania. Over the last few years, many Albanians have asked for asylum in Belgium because of their involvement in the blood feud’s phenomenon. Therefore, two members of the research department of the Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons in Belgium took part to a fact finding mission in Albania in order to update their information and understanding of the phenomenon of “gjakmarrja/hakmarrja”. During the meeting, the belgian delegation had the chance to know more about Operazione Colomba’s activities against this phenomenon in Albania and its field experience in order to understand how that practice works nowadays, which is its geographical/quantitative distribution and which could be its solution. (more…)
The national campaign of awareness against blood feuds, promoted in 2016 by Operazione Colomba in Albania, ended on 30 September 2016 near the capital city of Tirana. On that date, a plaque in memory of blood feuds’ victims was donated to the Palace of Culture of Kamez to remember that this practice still violates fundamental human rights. Since 2010, we have been working to reach an important goal: the end of blood feuds’ phenomenon through reconciliation and forgiveness paths.
Operazione Colomba supports #UNËJAMILIRË, the awareness campaign against blood feuds. Since 2010 Operazione Colomba is present in Albania to help involved families to live free from the burden of the blood feud.
The Ancona Court of Appeal grants international protection for humanitarian reasons to an Albanian applican
The Ancona Court of Appeal grants international protection for humanitarian reasons to an Albanian applicant, who had been denied at first instance. The decision has great importance as it recognizes that forms of customary justice, such as the phenomenon of blood feud according to the ancient Kanun code, may be grounds for seeking international protection.
Moreover the sentence explicity recognizes the existence and the social danger of a phenomenon that “attributes to the family members of the victim of the murder […] two possible sanctions, or the physical elimination of the killer, or the inhuman treatment of self-isolation at home and hence the “social” elimination of the person to be punished”.
On February, Albanian police has done several discoveries related to an inquiry about a “blood feud” case begun in 2016. The conflict burst in Elbasan between two clan. It causes 5 casualties and 7 injured. The inquiry results are not public yet, but it seems that one of the first murderers has been identified. The hope is that this news can be the starting point to discover other acts on revenge.
Moreover, at the beginning of February, in Kossovo, an Albanian man invested three people with his car. One of those people died. During the funeral, his family decided to forgive the driver, in order to avoid an escalation of violence. The event represents how traditional habits can still be used to stop the feuds circles.
Sharing, Work and news about Volunteers
Visiting families in conflict everyday gives us an idea of the importance of our work. Not only to mediate conflicts, but also for other reasons. For instance, in case of domestic violence. With the consensus of the wife, we managed to arrange psychological meeting with a psychologist to support her in her daily troubles.
Moreover, our proximity to the people allows us to intervene in cases of difficulties. Like in the case of two families that are facing a hard healthcare situation. During the month of February we accompanied them several times to the hospital. Further more we backed them in the bureaucratic procedure requested to obtain an economical support by the state. During one of the accompaniment the two mums met and had the chance to share their difficulties related both to the feud situation and to the healthcare one. Empathy was the result.
Empathy can also emerge from sport. Thus we organized a football match between the guys of our youth group and the guys of rehabilitation centre of the Community Pope John XXIII.
Institutions and networking
We have been contacted by a Justice Ministry representative. The Ministry is trying to shed light about the “blood feud” phenomenon in order to deliver documents testifying families’ feud situation. We have noticed that there is some interest about the topic. This is the reason why we think it could be the right moment to make again pressure on the parliament in order to implement the law of 2005 about the creation of a Coordination Committee against the “blood feud” phenomenon.