Source description last updated: 11 August 2017

In brief:  The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) is a human rights organisation, founded in 1990 as the Albanian Forum for the Protection of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms and based in Tirana, Albania, works towards respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country, and provides specific recommendations for the improvement of legislation and law enforcement.

Coverage on ecoi.net:
Reports.
Covered quarterly on ecoi.net, for Albania.

Mission/Mandate/Objectives:
“AHC’s mission is to contribute to respect for human rights, strengthening the rule of law, and the conduct of free and fair elections, in accordance with the Constitution and international acts applicable to the Republic of Albania.” (AHC website: Our mission and objectives, undated)

“On March 22, 1992, the AHC became a member of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, based in Vienna. During this quarter century, AHC has been and remains the most prominent organization for the protection [a]nd promotion of human rights in Albania, as well as a leading partner for other non-government organizations” (AHC website: History, undated)

“AHC’s mandate, in the framework of fulfilling its mission, is to:
Inform and sensitize Albanian citizens and all other actors about their rights and freedoms;
Monitor, advocate for and protect, in a proactive manner, together with other civil society actors, national and international organizations, respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms in Albania and beyond;
Prepare alternative reports for the implementation of human rights in Albania;
Provide legal critique and expertise to improve legislation and harmonize it with EU’s “acquis communautaire” and its implementation in practice, by reinstating violated rights;
Provide free legal services, in the context of strategic litigation, to assist victims whose human rights have been violated;
Help strengthen the rule of law through better implementation of legislation in force, strengthening the capacities of the public administration and exercising pressure on it, through democratic means;
Play an active role in the heart of civil society in order to encourage the participation of citizens in this issue of public interest.;
Provide free legal services, in the context of strategic litigation, to assist victims whose human rights have been violated. […]
AHC believes in and works to achieve a phase of development of the Albanian society whereby citizens, in spite of their peculiarities or differences, freely and equally exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms, in keeping with constitutional and international standards, in all aspects of life.” (AHC website: Our Mission, undated)

Funding:
“Main donors that have supported AHC’s work in the last three years include: Civil Rights Defenders,  The EU Delegation in Albania, The Council of Europe, Open Society Institute – Budapest, Open Society Foundation Albania (OSFA), UNICEF, NATIONAL Endowment for Democracy (NED), Embassies of the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States in Tirana” (AHC-Website: Partners, Network And Donnors, no date)
 
Scope of reporting:
Geographic focus: Albania
Thematic focus: Governmental issues, vulnerable groups, elections, judiciary, legal clinic (a project of AHC, working on the improvement of the situation of Human Rights), legal education, prison conditionsand treatment of persons deprived of their liberty

Methodology:
“AHC’s work is led by the Executive Director (presently a woman) who is elected by the Directing Board. At present, AHC employs 8 full[0]time persons (see organogram below) and, based on project needs, hires part-time experts of different areas, selected from among the group of collaborators and trained and qualified organization activists (about 200 collaborators, of which 150 specialize in election monitoring). AHC has also established a network of 7 correspondents (employed part-time) living in Kukës, Gjirokastër, Fier, Vlorë, Korçë, Elbasan, and Shkodër (3 women and 4 men). This network of collaborators observes and monitors respect for human rights in relevant districts and plays the role of the organizer in the implementation of AHC initiatives and events in these districts.” (AHC website: History, undated)
 “AHC collaborates and coordinates its work with civil society organizations, public institutions, as well as with bilateral, multi-lateral or private international bodies that operate in the field of the protection, promotion and implementation of human rights in Albania.” (AHC website: Partners, Network and Donors, undated)

For instance, for the realization of the report “Criminal offences of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and the practice of investigation and trial in judic[i]al districts of Tirana and Elbasan”, AHC focused their work on several directions: “It was of interest for us to, first, become familiar with the practice created by justice bodies in the context of investigations and adjudications of denunciations for torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. […] We also studied the judicial files, together with final decisions, issued by the first instance of the judiciary and the Courts of Appeals in the districts of Tirana and Elbasan, for the same […] period. The analysis of cases in this research study focused also on the penal lawsuits that were suggested or denounced by state institutions such as the Ombudsman and other public bodies that bear the functional duty of finding and pursuing these cases, or by non-profit organizations that operate in this area.” (AHC website: Criminal offences of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and the practice of investigation and trial in judical districts of Tirana and Elbasan, p.7., December 2015)

Language(s) of publications:
Albanian, English.
 
All links accessed 11 August 2017.
Homepage:
http://www.ahc.org.al/
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