Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – May 2019

Present situation
At the end of May a man was arrested in the mountains, convicted of avenging in 2012 the murder of his parents, killed by a neighbor in 2003 because of a dispute over the ownership of a stream. The arrested man had acted with his sister, who initially declared herself to be the only one responsible for the crime. The girl, at the time of the arrest, had stated that she had waited 9 years for State justice to take its course, but then, full of pain and resentment, she had chosen to resort to private justice, killing the brother of the responsible of her parents’ murder. The latter, on the other hand, is still at large.
Finally, the only indicted of Mario Majollari‘s murder was released for lack of evidence. Operazione Colomba expresses concern because, as the case reported here above, when State justice is not efficient, victims can resort to forms of private justice that often turn into blood feud’s episodes.

The month of May was full of emotions as most of the visits to families in blood feud were dedicated to the departure of Tommaso, a long-term volunteer who lived in Shkodër for a year and a half. The affectionate and moving greetings showed the bond between the volunteers and the families, who mutually share the intimacy of pain and the hope for a peaceful future.
As every year, during this Marian month, we escorted some families to honor St. Anthony of Padua, to the Shrine of Laç dedicated to him, and to the church of “Our Lady of Good Counsel” in Shkodër, very popular in this period. Accompanying families in these moments of spirituality is important because it increases our relationship with them in trust and respect. The strong religious faith of family members offers important insights to jointly develop paths of peace and reconciliation.
At the beginning of the month, the volunteers’ group enriched thanks to the arrival of Margherita, while at the end of the month Sandro, whom we thank for his commitment and his dedication, left.

Relationship with institutions and civil society
At the beginning of May we organized, at the United Nations in Geneva, a Side Event to raise awareness among international institutions of the issue of blood feuds phenomenon, on the occasion of the Albania’s Universal Periodic Review. The representatives of Operazione Colomba, together with some Albanian researchers, analyzed the phenomenon, tracing its evolution over time and contextualizing it in contemporary Albania. This advocacy activity has pursued the aim of informing the member States of the UN Human Rights Council about the level of human rights protection for blood feuds’ victims so that they can continue to encourage commitment in the Albanian State to implement an effective strategy to eradicate this practice.
At the end of the month, thanks to the collaboration of a Professor from the Tirana’s University, we also presented to the students of a three-year Bachelor course and two Master courses of the Social Sciences Department the work on the Human Rights protection carried out by Operazione Colomba in the world and, in particular, in Albania.