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Emergency Housing for LGBT Youth in Tirana, Albania

The psychologist at the LGBT youth shelter waited for me in a small side street in the city center of Tirana, Albania’s capital. “No one knows our exact address, we want to avoid arson and havoc,” she told me.
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LGBT Program Advocacy Director Boris Dittrich (2nd from Left) with the psychologist and the social workers from an LGBT youth shelter, STREHA, in Tirana, Albania.
News

LGBT Rights Groups Bring Legal Case to Fulfil Long-Delayed Promise

Last week Kristi Pinderi, executive director of the Albanian group PRO LGBT, announced his organization would file a lawsuit requesting recognition of same-sex partnerships.
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Kristi Pinderi, the executive director of the Albanian group PRO LGBT.
News

Opposition to Withdrawal by States

The African Union made headlines Tuesday for purportedly agreeing to mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court. The reality is more complex.
 
 The decision by AU member states welcomes the announced withdrawals by South Africa,…
A general view shows the headquarters of the African Union (AU) building in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 29, 2017.
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Urgent need to safeguard students, teachers and schools during armed conflict

Albanians older than 40 know about militarized schools. For years during communism, children took time from classes to march, dig, and shoot in preparation for an onslaught from the “imperialist West” or “revisionist East.” Last week they drew on that…
A boy stands in a classroom at his school after it was hit by a Saudi-led air strike in Yemen's capital Sanaa July 20, 2015.
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There’s a new fashion among African presidents bent on clinging to power: the constitutional coup. Military coups are no longer de rigueur, in part because the African Union has said it won’t recognize governments that come to power by means of such…
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(Brussels, July 15, 2015) – Journalists in the Western Balkans work in a hostile environment that directly affects their ability to do critical, independent reporting essential to a democratic society. Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo,…
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Six years ago I was invited to Tirana, Albania’s capital, to meet with human rights activists who told me stories of rampant homophobia and a dire lack of legal protections for LGBT people. Yesterday, Albania took an important step forward combatting both…
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2013 brought many grim setbacks, yet there were still some important signs of progress

With the slaughter of civilians in Syria still horribly unrestrained, it is easy to be discouraged about human rights. There is, of course, every reason for outrage about Syria, and about the international community's narrow focus on peace talks, unlikely…
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On September 17, a court in Kosovo acquitted Fatmir Limaj, a former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commander and high-ranking politician, and nine others of war crimes related to the 1998 torture and killings of Serbian and Albanian civilians in a makeshift…
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Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people…
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The State Department’s new list of governments using child soldiers is out. Seven countries are named this year. The list is not that surprising: It includes the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma and South Sudan, which have deployed child soldiers for…
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Called for Violence Against Pride Paraders

(London) – The Albanian government should publicly reprimand Deputy Defense Minister Ekrem Spahiu for homophobic remarks and endorsing violence against people participating in a Gay Pride parade, Human Rights Watch said today. Asked what he thinks of…
News
Joseph Kony, Thomas Lubanga and Charles Taylor are just the tip of the iceberg. The use of children as soldiers extends far beyond Africa. Last week in The Hague, the International Criminal Court, or ICC, found the Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty…
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A Victory for Congo's Children

Yesterday in The Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC) found the Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty of recruiting and using child soldiers under age 15 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, making him the ICC’s first convicted war criminal.…
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Prime Minister Should Refrain from Interfering in Case

(New York) - Prime Minister Sali Berisha of Albania should not interfere with the criminal investigation into the fatal shooting of three anti-government protesters on January 21, 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. The three protesters were killed…