ARCT calls for action on Killed and Missing Persons during the communist regime

For almost half a century, Albania lived under the most extreme totalitarian communism in the post Second World War in Europe. With the end of the 2nd World War, the Albanian Peoples Republic was declared and its leader, Enver Hoxha stayed in power until his death in 1985, sustaining one of the most repressive systems in the Eastern Europe. Even more then 20 years after the fail of the former communist regime in Albania , there is no precise number of persons missing during the 50 years of the former regime between 1945 and 1991. The overall human toll is not well documented, with estimates ranging from 6,000 to 8,000 individuals killed. As Prof. Philip Alston would say “twenty years after the fall of communism, Albania has not dealt comprehensively with the killings and other human rights abuses committed during those years.  It is widely acknowledged that thousands of Albanians were tortured, executed and disappeared by the state, but many victims’ families are unable to learn their loved ones’ fate, and the details of the regime's abuses have not been accounted for”. According to our research, 20 years after the fail of communist regime, there are still approximately 4,000-4,500 missing persons during the period of the former regime. As the consequence of the insufficient government efforts and the luck of appropriate legislation, families are continuing to struggle in their efforts to exercise their right to know about the fate of their family members. However their efforts to find the truth about the fate of their loved never stopped.

In one of their attempts, on February 8th 2010, human remains of 19 persons were discovered. The remains are still at the custody of the Albanian Legal Medicine Institute, unidentified; do to the luck of expertise of the Albanian Institutions to properly identify those remains. This is just one example of the scope of the issue of missing persons during the communist regime in Albania.For reasons mentioned above, ARCT calls the authorities for concerted actions with regards to: 1. Assessment of the overall situation regarding the cases of over 4,500 persons disappeared during the communist regime in Albania, 2. Assessment of the existing legislation to address the rights of the victims,3. Implementation of the UN Convention of enforced disappearance and European Convention of Human Rights from the Institutions of the Republic of Albania,4.  Propose concrete measures and recommendations for Albanian authorities to locate, exhume and identify mortal remains of the victims of communist regime and other aspects of addressing the rights of the families of missing persons.

Proper address of this issue for Albania means completing the transition from totalitarian regime to open and democratic society.

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