Testo d'approfondimento parte della "Guida Minoranze"
When the wave of political pluralism swept through Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Albania remained the most impoverished, repressed, and isolated country in the region. The small Balkan nation, known locally as Republika e Shqiperise, was nearing the end of its long period of complete communist rule which dominated from the end of World War Two to the mid-1980s. More than four decades of pure Stalinism shaped the political culture of Albania, controlled every aspect of its economy, and kept its people under conditions of severe oppression and abuse. Enver Hoxha, the head of state from the beginning of communist rule to the beginning of its decline, steered the country on an irrational quest for extreme dogmatism, preventing the possibility of survival through beneficial reforms. The Communist party, also known as the Party of Labour and the Socialist Party, was powerfully organised and controlled every aspect of society.
The government was finally forced to surrender to the acceptance of political pluralism in 1990, and since then Albania has witnessed five legislative elections: the elections of 1991, 1992, 1996, 1997 and 2001. Many new parties have formed since the legalisation of pluralism, creating a dynamic arena of political competition between themselves.
Albania is a country with some minority groups. The Greek ethnic population in the Southern part of the country adjacent to the state border with Greece, is by far the largest. Their number amounts to 60.000-70.000.
According the official statistics, the Macedonian minority is concentrated in the region of Prespe and their number is up to 5.000 but according the President of the Association of Macedonia in Albania - Edmond Temelkov, they make as much as 350.000, mostly inhabiting the regions of Prespa, Podgorec, Tirana, Elbasan, Korca and some other cities in Albania. Besides the already mentioned ones there are also two other minorities living in Albania, Montenegrin minority, close to the shore of Lake of Shkoder and the border with Montenegro as well the Roma minority, mostly settled in the Central Albania.
PARTICIPATION IN PUBLIC LIFE
The Art. 4 of the Constitution of Albania says that the Republic of Albania recognises and guarantees the fundamental human rights and freedoms, those of national minorities, admitted in the international documents. In addition to this, it is said that all the minorities have the right to freely express, without prohibition or compulsion, their ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic belonging. They have the right to preserve and develop it, to study and to be taught in their mother tongue, as well as unite in organisations and societies for the protection of their interests and identity.
Regarding to the above mentioned regulations, in practice there are no evidence of active participation of the minority groups in the public life.But, it is worth emphasising that the representatives of the Montenegrin minority in Albania have important positions in the organs of local government which is not a case with the other minority groups. In this direction goes the claim of the Greek minority for a greater representation in the structures of the local government, police etc.
Also, the latest census held in April this year was boycotted by the Macedonian and Greek minorities in Albania. The reason for such decision is the absence of the nationality and religion of citizens in the census lists.
LANGUAGE AND EDUCATION
The minorities in Albania are allowed to use their mother tongue up to certain level of education. For instance, in those parts of Albania inhabited with Greek minority, there are primary and secondary schools taught in Greek. In the community of Dropull each village has its own kindergarten in Greek language.
Regarding the Macedonian minority in Albania, there are also examples of elementary and secondary schools taught in Macedonian but that is not the case with the Montenegrins and Romas.
After the 90'ies, written media in Greek language has experienced an obvious development. In the town of Sarande we can mention the newspaper "2000", the magazine "Progress", etc. In the district of Gjirokaster the following newspapers and magazines are being published: "Lajko Vima", "Ionis tes Omonis", "Romi osi Mi", "Oaz" etc.
Radio Gjirokaster broadcasts daily programmes of 45 minutes in Greek.
The local radio of Korce broadcasts news bulletins in Macedonian for the Macedonian minority in Albania, these programmes are broadcast three times a week. The local TV station has also released programmes devoted to the above region.
From the legal point of view, the Albanian state considers the community of the minorities equal to the others recognising them all the rights found in the Constitution and in its legal acts. Lately the Assembly of the Republic of Albania approved a special status to the minorities. Roma of Albania are also included. But Roma problem does constitute a problem of a community with a very low standard of living, and often at the margins of the Albanian society. Of special concern is the very low level of their education.