The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) has become aware and has followed protests conducted by inhabitants of the Astir area, in Tirana, whose houses are to be demolished as a result of the implementation of the project for building the New Ring-Road. A representative of the Albanian Helsinki Committee held a meeting yesterday with some of the inhabitants of this area who were protesting about their rights.
AHC expresses appreciation for infrastructure projects that serve to improve the quality of road transport and lives of citizens of Tirana. Although such projects may be useful for public interest, AHC considers that the state should test in a proportional manner every right and interest affected by these projects, in accordance with article 17 of the Constitution.
Particularly during the first two decades of democracy, the entire country saw a boom of illegal constructions, which were not stopped by state bodies; in fact, they may have created expectations for inhabitants and their families that, with time, they could apply for their legalization and earn the right of ownership, as has happened with part of them. It is our opinion that for every inhabitant who has built for a long time residential buildings in these areas and has contributed to their maintenance, in spite of the progress of legalization procedures, fair, sustainable and proportional alternative forms of housing or compensation may be considered, in the spirit of the Convention for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This Convention, ratified by our country, sanctions the right to shelter, as a right to live in safety, peace and with dignity. Demolition of the homes for these citizens has caused pain and concerns in their private and family lives, a right sanctioned in the Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights.
Politicization of the cause of the inhabitants or use of this cause for political purposes and interests, does not serve to calm down the situation and establish constructive dialogue between citizens and institutions. AHC thinks and suggests that constructive dialogue and patient and transparent clarifications between inhabitants and representatives of relevant state bodies is necessary. Every citizen, no matter what his/her position or function is, should respect the right of inhabitants to rally when they claim that their rights are violated and not use insulting words or phrases that aggravate and escalate the created situation further. It is the right of inhabitants to peacefully present all kinds of criticism, including harsh ones, toward local or central institutions. In these circumstances, restraint and understanding, prevention of any potential conflict or confrontation is called for.
In conclusion, we suggest to State Police bodies to take all measures to prevent any aggravation of the situation, pursuant to law, particularly the law “On rallies.”