Treatment of the Cameria ethnic group by society and the authorities, particularly of educated members of the group; avenues of redress available (2000-January 2002) [ALB38279.E]

Sources consulted use several names to refer to the Cameria ethnic group, such as the Cams (Country Reports 2000, Feb. 2001), the Çams ( 1998), the Chams (Ta Nea 30 June 2001) or the Chamerians (ibid.). The Çams are described as ethnic Albanians the majority of whom are Muslim (ICG 1 Mar. 2000, 10) and were forced to leave Greece after World War I and World War II (Albania 26 July 2000; ICG 1 Mar. 2000, 11). According to the chairman of the "Chameria" organization, 300,000 Çams live in Albania (Ta Nea 30 June 2001).

Information on the treatment of the Çams by society and the authorities is scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

According to Country Reports, there were no reports of discrimination against the Çams in 2000 (2001). No corroborating information could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

There are several references to a property dispute that involve land expropriated by Greece that the Çams want returned (ATA 18 July 2000; ICG 25 Aug. 2000; 1998). For background information on this issue, please see "The Cham Issue" of Albania: State of the Nation (Section IV), a report published by the International Crisis Group (ICG) in March 2000 available at

According to Bentri Mistari, the chair of an organization called "Chameria," the Albanian parliament recognized 28 June as the "commemoration day of the genocide of the Chamerians by Greeks" (Ta Nea 30 June 2001).

On 18 July 2000, the Foreign Relations Commission of Albania's parliament held a discussion on the Çams' property issue (ATA 18 July 2000). On 25 July 2000, another discussion took place with the participation of representatives of the Cameria Political and Patriotic Association, including its chair Hilmi Sage (Albania 26 July 2000).

On 28 June 2001, a group of Çams held a rally in Tirana and called for the solution of their property issue (Ta Nea 30 June 2001).

On 27 June 2000, Sali Berisha, a former Albanian president and the chair of the opposition Democratic Party, participated in a ceremony organized by the Tirana Democratic Council in which one of Tirana's streets was renamed "Chamouria Street," Chamouria being the land of the Chams (Exousia 29 June 2000). On that occasion, Mr. Berisha promised to toughen his position over the property issue of the Çams should he return to power (ICG 25 Aug. 2000, 9).

Commenting on the Albanian public's attitude towards the Çams, the ICG stated that "a growing number of Albanians feel that now is the time, in the wake of the world's acknowledgement of the human rights abuses in Kosovo, for the Albanian government to direct the international community's attention to the plight of the Chams" (1 Mar. 2000, 12).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Albania [Tirana, in Albanian]. 26 July 2000. "Albanian Parliament Commission Says Problems of Cams Expelled From Greece Should Be Solved Step by Step." (FBIS-EEU-2000-0726 26 July 2000/WNC) 1998. "About Çameria." [Accessed 28 Dec. 2001]

ATA [Tirana, in English]. 18 July 2000. "Commission Submits Cam Property Issue to People's Assembly." (FBIS-EEU-2000-0719 18 July 2000/WNC)

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000. February 2001. Washington, DC: United States Department of State. [Accessed 31 Dec. 2001]

Exousia [Athens, in Greek]. 29 June 2000. "Greek-Albanian Relations Seen Taut Due to Albanian Domestic Issues." (FBIS-EEU-2000-0630 29 June 2000/WNC)

International Crisis Group (ICG) [Brussels]. 25 August 2000. Albania's Local Elections: A Test of Stability and Democracy. [Accessed 2 Jan. 2002]

_____. 1 March 2000. Albania: State of the Nation. [Accessed 2 Jan. 2002

Ta Nea [Athens, in Greek]. 30 June 2001. "Cham Leader Responds to Greek Foreign Ministry Remarks on Cham Protest Rally." (FBIS-EEU-2001-0701 30 June 2001/WNC)

Additional Sources Consulted

The Albanian Helsinki Committee Newsletter 1999-2001

Human Rights Watch/Helsinki. 1996. Human Rights in Post-Communist Albania.

IRB Databases

Reports on the Activities of the Albanian Helsinki Committee. 1998-2001

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

The Anthropology of East Europe Review [Chicago]

The Balkan Human Rights Web Pages

British Helsinki Human Rights Group

Council of Europe

European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) [Flensburg, Germany]

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Freedom House

Human Rights Internet

Human Rights Watch

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

Joshua Project 2000. Unreached Peoples Lists [Colorado Springs]

The Journal of Albanian Studies [New York]

Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative [Budapest]

Minorities at Risk Project [College Park, MD]

Minority Electronic Resources (MINELRES)

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation

World News Connection (WNC)