Albania’s current population is 2 845 955.1 After the 1990s, Albania entered a difficult
period of transformation from a dictatorial system, where human rights and individual
freedoms were limited (in that the individual was completely at the disposal of the state
and the ruling ideology), to a democratic state. The respect for human rights is an
essential condition in this long process of transformation. In order to achieve this goal,
significant steps have been taken in the process of aligning the Albanian legislation on
human rights and fundamental freedoms wi th the international standards fo r their
protection and the establishment of mechanisms that ensure their effectiv e protection.
The key fin dings of the European Commission’s 2019 report on Albania noted that the
country had developed its legal framework in line with European standards, although th e
overall implementation of those instruments still needed to be strengthened. The report
acknowledges the adoption by the Albanian Parliament, in May 2018, of the new Law on
social h ousing,2 which aims to strengthen the protection of the right to housing for the
most vulnerable members of the Roma and Egyptian communities, 3 as a positive step.
The Roma community in Albania was first mentioned in 1635, but for more than five
centuries, there has been no accurate sur vey of the number of Roma living in Albania.
The Roma minority are predominantly located in Tirana, Lezha, Fier an d Elbasan.4
According to the European Commission’s 2019 report on Albania, there is a need to
review the national app roach to employment because of a low level of employment and
labour force participation among Roma. Despite the positive overall trend5 in the field of
education, the gap between Roma/Egyptians an d non-Roma children living in the same
areas remains significant, and the issue of segregation in schools should be
According to the same report, substantial efforts ar e needed to ensure meaningful and
systematic consultation with civil society as part of an inclusive policy dialogue for
Regarding the human rights institutions, the report concludes that ‘The Ombudsman, the
Commissioner for Protection against Discrimination and other independent institutions
still face poor implementation of their recommendations by the Albanian admin istration’.8
2. Main legislation
The Albanian legislation offers general protection of human rights and especially of the
principle of equality and n on-discrimination. The Constitution is the highest law in
Albania. It accepts international law as part of domestic law, and in the hierarchy of
norms they sta nd immediately after the Constitution. Ratified international agreements
are directly applicable, unless they are not enforceable and require the adoption of
special laws. The Constitution provides for the equality of citizens before the law and
1 See http://www.instat.gov.al/media/6849/popullsia_me-_1_janar_2020.pdf.
2 Law No. 22/2018 on social housing also covers protection from forced evictions.
3 European Commission (2019), ‘Key Findings of the 2019 Report on Albania’, Brussels, 29.05.2019, p. 5,
available at: https://europeanwesternbalkans.com/2019/05/29/key-findings-2019-european-commission-
4 See http://www.minoritetet.gov.al/?page_id=1388.
5 Roma children continue to benefit from free textbooks and transportation to remote schools.
6 European Commission (2019) ‘Key Findings of the 2019 Report on Albania’, Brussels, 29.05.2019, p. 32.
7 European Commission (2019), Albania 2019 Report, Strasbourg, 29.05.2018, SWD (2019)215 final, pp. 10-
8 European Commission (2019) ‘Key Findings of the 2019 Report on Albania’, Brussels, 29.05.2019.