LOCAL EU STATEMENT (27/03/2012)

Tirana, 27 March 2012

The Delegation of the European Union to Albania issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Albania:

"The Delegation of the European Union to Albania, in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Albania, is surprised and deeply concerned by the 22 March 2012 public statement made by the Deputy Minister of Defence and the Head of the Legality Movement Party Mr. Ekrem Spahiu. He was commenting on the Festival of Diversity on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons (LGBT), which will take place on the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May 2012.

The European Union strongly condemns any discriminatory rhetoric as well as any incitement to hatred or violence.

Albania ratified the European Convention of Human Rights and approved the Law on Protection from Discrimination.

The fight against discrimination, including discrimination of LGBT persons, is one of the 2010 Opinion twelve key priorities. Albania has committed itself to implementing the Action Plan on those twelve key priorities.

Public statements like Mr Spahiu's are in contradiction with the implementation of anti-discrimination policies under chapter 23 on judiciary and fundamental rights of the EU acquis communautaire.

The Delegation of the European Union to Albania, in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Albania, strongly urges the Albanian authorities to ensure that such behaviour is not repeated."

For further information, please contact:
Ms Artes BUTKA
Press & Information Officer
Tel: + 355 4 2228 320, + 355 42 228 479
Fax: + 355 4 230 752
E-mail: artes.butka@eeas.europa.eu
Delegation's website: www.delalb.ec.europa.eu