A 10-17 December 1998 hunger strike at Luigj Gurakuqi University in Shkoder, including the names of the 24 participants and the government/police reaction [ALB33512.E]

No reports of a 10-17 December 1998 hunger strike at Luigj Gurakuqi University in Shkoder could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, the following information may be useful.

On 24 November 1998 the students union at Luigj Gurakuqi University in Shkoder went on strike to enforce a series of 12 economic demands, most related to securing improvements to living conditions and security measures in the students' dormitories (ATA 7 Dec. 1998; ibid. 18 Dec. 1998). These demands were first presented to the government in mid-October (ibid.). In a meeting with university officials in early December, Deputy Education and Science Minister Mimoza Hafizi claimed that eight out of the 12 demands presented by the students had already been fulfilled, while the remaining four were outside the competence of the ministry (ibid. 7 Dec. 1998). According to the deputy minister one of the students' demands-a 50 per cent increase in scholarships-was simply not possible given Albania's economic circumstances (ibid.). The students resolved to maintain their strike until all 12 demands were fulfilled (ibid.).

On 18 December 1998 ATA reported that the Independent Union of Students, political parties affiliated to the Union for Democracy, and unnamed anticommunist organizations held a peaceful rally in front of Luigj Gurakuqi University to press for the students' demands. Student leaders who spoke at the rally supported a hunger strike by students in Tirana, and reportedly demanded the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Pandeli Majko (ibid.).

On 22 December 1998 ATA reported that students at the Tirana University had called off their 10-day hunger strike following an agreement with the government. According to the report the government also agreed to a number of the Luigj Gurakuqi University students' demands, including establishment of Internet and e-mail connections, provision and supply of a study hall including a TV set, and the establishment of a police post on the Shkoder campus until January 1999 to guard the students' premises (ibid.). The government reportedly agreed to create a 4 million lek (Cdn$41,733) fund for the procurement of beds, heaters, mattresses, telephone connections and other improvements (ibid.).

On 16 January 1999 ATA reported there had been "considerable improvements ... in the students' dormitories [at Luigj Gurakuqi University] ... during the winter holidays," and that the work was continuing.

ATA is the official news agency of the Albanian government.

A list of the strike participants could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. One report identified Alfred Pellumbi as the chairman of the students union at Luigj Gurakuqi University (ATA 7 Dec. 1998)

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.


Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA). 16 January 1999. M. Malja. "Dormitory Conditions Improved, Shkoder." http://listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu/ [Accessed 16 Jan. 1999]

_____. 22 December 1998. "Students Call Off Hunger Strike Following Agreement with Government." (BBC Summary 24 Dec. 1998/NEXIS)

_____. 18 December 1998. "Student Rally in Northern Albanian Town Calls for Government Resignation." (BBC Summary 20 Dec. 1998/NEXIS)

_____. 7 December 1998. "Students in Northern Town to Continue Strike Until All Demands Met." (BBC Summary 9 Dec. 1998/NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Albanian Helsinki Committee. Quarterly Report. Oct.-Dec. 1998.

IRB databases.


World News Connection (WNC).

Three oral sources.

Internet sites including:


Albania Online.

Albanian Daily News.

Albanian Helsinki Forum.

Albanian Human Rights and Documentation Centre.

Albanian Human Rights Group.

Albanian Press Watch (APW).

Albanian Resource Centre.

Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA).

Albanian Times.

Amnesty International.

British Helsinki Human Rights Group (BHHRG).

ENTER News Agency.

Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Institute for Policy and Legal Studies (IPLS).

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF-HR).

International League for Human Rights (ILHR).

Open Media Research Institute (OMRI).

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Slavic Research Centre.