Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance Reports on Albanian Persecution of Macedonian Minority

European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance

Third report on Albania

Adopted on 17 December 2004 and made public on 14 June 2005

The following is an excerpt from ECRI's report. For the full text, please see the link below:

Minority language education

64. In its second report ECRI recommended to the authorities to consider concerns expressed by representatives of the ethnic Macedonian community with respect to mother-tongue education in various regions where members of their community are allegedly not recognised as such.

65. ECRI notes that Macedonian as well as Greek representatives informed ECRI of their concern that members of their communities are unable to receive mother-tongue education in public schools due to the fact that they live outside of areas previously categorised as "minority zones”4. According to Albanian law in order for minority language schools to be established a sufficient number of parents must request such a school and they must be recognised as belonging to that ethnicity. The Albanian authorities indicated to ECRI that they check the civil registry in order to determine ethnicity. However, those members of minority groups living outside of areas previously categorised as "minority zones” have difficulties registering their ethnic belonging in the civil registry.5 Furthermore, representatives of other minority groups, such as Montenegrin, Aromanian/Vlach and Roma have also expressed their wish for their children to be able to receive mother tongue education.


66. ECRI recommends to the Albanian authorities to consider extending possibilities for minority language education. ECRI also recommends to the Albanian authorities to adopt an approach that encourages the interaction and communication of children from different ethnicities, and thus also consider different models of minority-language education, such as bilingual schools or classes, and accepting children of non-minority ethnicity or of mixed ethnicity into such programmes.


69. The Albanian media are generally said to avoid promoting racism and discrimination, although on some occasions they promote negative stereotypes about minority groups, particularly Roma. ECRI has also received information indicating that the media sometimes stir up negative feelings about the Greek, Macedonian and Montenegrin minorities. On the other hand, the Albanian media reportedly does not give sufficient coverage to the daily lives, problems and concerns of members of minority groups. Furthermore, representatives of different minority groups have expressed concern to ECRI that they are not given adequate possibilities for access to the electronic or print media.

Monitoring the situation

79. In its second report, ECRI strongly urged the Albanian authorities to include a question pertaining to ethnic identity in the general census, respecting the principle of voluntary self-identification. ECRI also suggested that representatives of ethnic minority groups should be involved in the various stages of this process.

80. Questions related to national, ethnic and religious belonging were not included in the 2001 census. The Albanian authorities have informed ECRI that the National Statistics Institute (INSTAT) did, however, carry out a study focused on the economic situation, life and poverty level of the population that included a question on national belonging. ECRI notes that such a study cannot replace a nation-wide census in which all Albanians would have the opportunity to self-identify with respect to their national, ethnic and religious belonging. Representatives of different minority groups expressed to ECRI their concern that their numbers are significantly underestimated by the Albanian authorities and that they therefore attach great importance to the carrying out of a census that would more accurately reflect their percentage of the Albanian population.

81. ECRI notes in this connection, particular concerns expressed by the Greek and Macedonian communities that they are only recognised as a minority in zones previously categorised as minority zones. They noted that outside of these zones, they are unable to register their national belonging in the civil register and consequently unable to benefit from various minority rights.


82. ECRI reiterates its recommendation to the Albanian authorities to carry out a national census in which a question is included pertaining to ethnic identity, respecting the principles of confidentiality and voluntary self-identification. Representatives of ethnic minority groups should be involved in various stages of the process.

83. ECRI furthermore recommends to the Albanian authorities to ensure that certain persons are not denied the possibility of having their ethnic identity officially recognised simply due to their geographic location in the country outside of areas previously categorised as minority zones.