Perpetrators of the shocking incident at Shkodër Municipality orphanage should be punished according to the law

The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) and the Children’s Rights Observatory became aware of a grave scandal that had taken place at the Children’s Residential Center in the Shkodër Municipality. Three minor female children who lived in the orphanage of the city were abused sexually.

The Shkodër Judicial District Prosecutor’s Office has initiated penal prosecution and has ordered the detainment of the former director and some employees of this Center. We suggest to justice bodies to carry out a fast, objective and comprehensive investigation. We have confidence that the Prosecutor’s Office will discover and hold legally accountable those persons who have perpetrated this grave and barbaric offense toward three 14-year old girls.

This news has seriously shocked public opinion. It was committed in a center that housed orphan children, entrusted for their upbringing and education to the employees of this Center. In this sense, the moral responsibility of employees in general is very serious and the perpetrators of the crime should be punished harshly.

Article 59 of the Constitution devotes special importance to care and assistance for orphans. Other laws and international documents require special attention to these children, their lives and health.

According to data verified by the People’s Advocate, violence has been used on children and they were forced to work.

This incident becomes even more serious considering the case that took place last year in Shkodër Municipality, whereby a camera had taped violent and degrading actions by a kindergarten teacher sitting on a minor of the orphanage although the child was crying and seeking help.

These cases demonstrate that state institutions, the family, the society and every citizen should be more sensitive toward such events, make efforts for their prevention, and when possible not hesitate to denounce wrongdoing to the police and prosecutor’s office.

At the same time, it is very important that the responsible state institutions to respect the standards in closed institutions, strictly enforce laws and regulations either in terms of monitoring as well as the selection and training of their personnel.

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