In the framework of the project Think Politically we analized the approach to important issues for the LGBTI community in the programs of the political parties that will participate in the 2017 parliamentary elections.
The selected parties are: the Democratic Party, the Socialist Party, the Socialist Movement for Integration, the Party for Justice Integration and Unity, the Republican Party, the Equal List, the Challenge for Albania, the Albanian Democratic Christian Union Party.
What is the “Think Politically” initiative?
“Think Politically” aims to encourage the LGBTI community to participate in the 2017 elections, provided with detailed information on the attitudes that political parties have on issues about this community. According to world studies 2 – 12% of the population of a country belongs to the LGBTI community. Official CEC data show that in the last parliamentary elections in Albania, the number of registered voters was 3,271,885, out of which about 110,000 are members of the LGBTI community.
LGBTI issues in programs of PS, LSI and LIBRA parties
Firstly we must say that in this electoral campaign, most parties have not published full political programs. From the monitoring carried out within the “Think Politically” project, it turns out that the official pages of the parties contain data such as statutes, attitudes and plans regarding various issues, but not complete political programs.
Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI)
An education program and a plan for economic development have been published on the SMI official website.
The “Overview of Albanian Actuality” session of the SMI education program reflects on the current status of institutions and educational policies. The program mentions superficially human rights issues when promising equal opportunities in education and support for the Roma community. But in this program, there is a lack of vision to make schools a safe and secure environment from the bullying phenomenon, which would be an important issue for LGBTI youth.
If we take into account the SMI attitude towards LGBTI community issues in these 4 years, it is worth noting that the former Justice Minister proposed by SMI, Mr. Nasip Naço has blocked the initiative of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth to Amend the Article 163 redefining the concept of cohabitation in the Family Code. Although in the international jurisprudence and the Constitution of Albania the right to family life (not the definition of marriage) is a fundamental human right, Minister Naço’s position was that this human right is “not a priority.”
The LGBT Alliance and Pro LGBT, in the framework of “Think Politically” project, have submitted to the Socialist Movement for Integration a request for information on positions and projections for sensitive issues for the LGBTI community such as: the right to cohabitation, the right to equal access in the health sector for the transgender community, commitment to the implementation of the National Plan for LGBTI persons 2016-2020, preventive measures for domestic violence, anti-discrimination policies in the education system and working environments.
This request has not yet received a response from this political force.
On the official website of the Socialist Party, the last published program is divided into 4 chapters: Recovery of Economy, Renewal of Society, Restoration of Democracy and Reunification with Europe. Another section called “Reforms” summarizes through brochures, the information on reforms undertaken in these 4 years, but it should be noted that the data on the “Program” page in many cases are similar to those in 2013.
The “Social Renewal” session of this program emphasizes the provision of quality public services regardless of sexual orientation.
In the “Reforms” section published on its official website, SP has listed its commitment and vows to the youth. Among them is mentioned the empowerment of the Office of the Commissioner against Discrimination, the incentive for the education and employment of Roma youth, but there is no specific commitment to LGBTI youth.
At a meeting with representatives of the socialist party, LGBT community rights activists were informed that new anti-discrimination terminology and policies have been integrated into the new Socialist Party program as the concept of “honest employment” which implies no discrimination on wages and equal treatment at the workplace. As well as the plan to establish 61 career counseling centers and shelters for abused children in each of the local units, which may also benefit LGBT youth.
Equal List (LIBRA)
The Manifesto published on the official website of this party states: “LIBRA does not prejudge anyone because of ethnicity, gender, property, age, religion, sexual orientation or previous political beliefs and will encourage and urge different thinking throughout its political activity”.
As part of the “Think Politically” project, LGBTI community rights activists held a meeting with LIBRA representative, Mimoza Hafizi. She said that LIBRA has established equality among people on the foundation of the organization.
Hafizi considers the rights of the LGBTI community as a fundamental issue, the attitudes about which should be held by membership vote. She was ready to start a debate with the 12,000 LIBRA members, where arguments can be likened and voted on attitudes of importante issues to the LGBT community.
* In addition, “Think Politically” will also publish the views of other monitored parties about LGBTI issues.
**This publication was made with the support of ILGA-Europe within its Creating Opportunities programme. The opinions expressed in the document do not necessarily reflect any official position of ILGA-Europe