Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – November 2018
At the beginning of the month, in Kumanovë (Macedonia), a fight between members of two families led to the death of one person and to the wounding of four people.
On November 9th, the mayor of the small town of Kotë, in southern Albania, was killed because of a quarrel with a militant from the opposite party. After the argument, the killer retrieved a gun from his car and then returned to shoot the victim.
Furthermore, some fights took place in various parts of the country causing the injuring of some Albanian citizens.
Visits to families continued in November, but less frequently due to the preparation of the awareness-raising national event scheduled for December 10th, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In the middle of the month, we accompanied a woman and her three children in jail to visit her husband, who killed a man to defend his sister’s honor and was recently moved to a new prison north of Shkodër. Compared with the previous one, the closer proximity of the new prison allows this woman to bring their three children to meet their father, without missing a day of school. After the visit, the woman brought us her husband’s regards and gratitude for our work.
During a home visit to a family, an elderly lady shared with us her concern for the future of his son, who is currently abroad. He applied for international protection in a European country due to his involvement in a feud. His application, however, has been rejected and now he may be forced to come back to Albania with his wife and children; we fear that his return may raise tensions with the rival family.
Relationship with institutions and civil society
At the beginning of December, a round table discussion with institutions and representatives of some local associations will be held with the aim of carrying on the collaboration, well-established in the past, in order to develop a common strategy of intervention against the blood feuds phenomenon. The event should lead to further meetings where every attendee can express and share their intervention strategies developed over these years.
During the organization of this event, we have met important local institutions, including the Ombudsman’s representative, the Prefect and the Public Prosecutor of Shkodër.
Furthermore, in the middle of the month, we met two representatives of the UNHCR delegation in Albania. Our pitch was well-received and generated a proposal for future collaborations in order to organize informative sessions with European embassies. The idea is to inform foreign diplomatic bodies about the difficulties faced by Albanian citizens when they seek refugee status abroad due to their involvement in the phenomenon. In fact, the approval rate of their asylum applications is generally low and for those at risk of being killed because of a blood feud this means that their protection is not fully guaranteed.
This blog is written in the framework of the project “Alternative dispute resolution and legal aid to solve blood feuds” as part of the sub granting scheme of the project The Civic Engagement for a Functional Judiciary System and Access to Justice in Albania, funded by the European Union and implemented by Save the Children and the Centre of Integrated Legal Services and Practices.