Hearing Session on CRC
Parliamentary hearing on the Rights of the Child in Albania
On November 13, 2013 the first hearing session with the newly constituted Law Commission and the Commission on Social Welfare and health was organized to discuss the Concluding Observations and Recommendations by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, issued on 5th of October 2012 in response to the periodic report submitted by Albania. The hearing session was fully attended by all members and chaired by the speaker of parliament.
A Child Rights Caucus had been created in 2012. Together with civil society and the assistance of UNICEF it helped to prepare a resolution that tasks Members of Parliament to monitor the implementation of the CRC and the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
This is one of the significant outcomes of the joint EU-UNICEF funded regional initiative to protect children from violence in South East Europe.
The speaker of parliament stressed the need for more attention to children’s issues. He said that economic aid is not enough to ensure the rights of children. “Albanian parliament will work closely with government to address the needs of the vulnerable groups, including children from the Roma community and children living with a disability”.
The head of the Children Rights Center in Albania discussed the high levels of violence; he stressed the need to have a specific law to protect children from violence which also makes it obligatory for professionals working for and with children to report incidences of violence; and that sanctions should be imposed for non-compliance.
The UNICEF representative explained the implications of ratifying the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the function of the Treaty Bodies. He highlighted some of the last Concluding Observations, including the need for government to widely disseminate the recommendations so authorities know what is expected of them; the need to better address the long-standing recommendations; that the Albania law on the protection on the rights of the child must supersede other domestic legislation so as to provide no excuses for non-implementation; the need to systematize data collection and analysis; to ensure birth registration especially for Roma children; and the implementation of laws that ban corporal punishment.
The parliamentary commission was addressed by several Ministers and Deputy Ministers from Education, Health, Interior, Justice, the Ombudsman, the Antidiscrimination Commissioner, the State Agency for Children’s Rights and a number of child rights organization and collations. A special request was made for sustainable financing of the Child Help Line ALO 116.
The session concluded with the consensus that Albanian Parliament has a role in monitoring the implementation of the CRC and Concluding Observations of the CRC Committee.
The draft resolution was supported by all speakers. A working group composed of four members of Parliament and a one representative from civil society was tasked to finalize the draft resolution. It is expected that Parliament will approve the resolution within two weeks.