The Minister for the Diaspora, Pandeli Majko, has said that Albania is still sleeping as regards the question of Albanian citizens in prison abroad:
"Access to information is a fundamental and very important right. In this sense I think we should consider a way to simplify the way of providing basic information and regular communication regarding this category of diaspora.
Albania is still sleeping as regards relations with the diaspora. This derives in large part from the principle that the obligations pay the citizens are limited to the tax payers living in the country. A nation that lives around the world must reinvent itself. I understand questions like 'but why should we start with prisoners?'
The answer is simple. If we are not close to all those who need it most it will mean that we are not able to represent the interest of our state outside our borders " - declared the minister.
Majko also stated that thanks to the cooperation started with the Albanian Red Cross, with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, preliminary work has already been started.
The creation of a liaison office will be an important factor that will serve as a focal point for people deprived of their freedom abroad. Creating first and foremost links with Greece and Italy will be the first step, to verify its functioning.
"Currently all the material on this issue is transferred to our embassies abroad. I happened to have a mistaken perception about one of our representatives from a consulate abroad, but a little later I reviewed my position in this regard: he showed me detailed lists of Albanian citizens in prison who are regularly updated; he did what he could, offering assistance and above all the presence of our state abroad.
However, my question is simple, how can a diplomat abroad, even if qualified, strengthen relations in a state when he is not allowed to create connections with Albanian citizens residing there? Most Albanian prisoners, along with their families, suffer from an obvious lack of information. In this sense I think it is important to create a liaison office, which is also available to the embassy. When we talk about people detained abroad, we talk about people who may not know how to read or write the language of the country where they are held. They must be aware of their rights"- said Majko.
The total number of Albanians detained abroad, according to the minister's words, is greater than that of detainees in Albania:
"According to statistics, in Greece there are 1655, in Italy 1600, in Germany 768, in Great Britain 750, in the Netherlands 92 and in Austria 50. " - concluded the minister.
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