Published on: 22 October 2014

Albania, promoter of human rights

Conflict hotspots which have gripped the world, such as Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Middle East and its fight against ISIS, are irrefutable evidence of the primary importance of human rights nowadays. 
Albania, as a NATO member and EU candidate country, strongly supports the respect for human rights and their universality. Based on these achievements and after an intense diplomatic campaign on October 21, 2014, for the first time, Albania was elected member of the Human Rights Council, during the elections held at the UN General Assembly. 
Albania's membership to the Human Rights Council is first and foremost a responsibility to the 193 UN member states, for the trust put in us to serve in this important body, as well as an impetus for the further democratization of our society. 
In the United Nations system, human rights, along with the guarantee of peace, security and sustainable development, constitute three substantial pillars which are interrelated and reinforcing to each other. 
The first effort of the international community with regard to the protection, respect and promotion of human rights was materialized with the establishment of the Commission on Human Rights in 1946. 
But, in the context of an increasingly global world, there was a need for a more reliable body, with more ability to operate. Consequently, in June 2006, the Human Rights Council was established, with a more limited membership (47 countries) open only to countries with high standards for human rights. Since then, the Council has become a key body of the United Nations to address issues concerning human rights. 

Albania, which for half-century witnessed one of the most brutal regimes in terms of violations of human rights and a tormenting transition towards a democratic state-building, recognizes and appreciates the importance of respecting human rights. Our bitter experience motivates us today to unconditionally support every initiative and every country which contributes to and works for the advancement and improvement of human rights. 
My country has already a particularly rich experience in terms of promoting regional peace and security, human rights and economic development, in the internal and external dimension. 
Thanks to its geographical position, rich cultural heritage and tolerant spirit, Albania has become a model and promoter of dialogue, respect and religious brotherhood. The visit of the Pope Francis in Tirana some days ago and the messages conveyed from him strengthened Albania’s comparative advantage in relation to other countries in the region. 

I am fully confident that membership in the Human Rights Council is another opportunity for Albania to demonstrate its capacities and improve the rate of implementation of national and international legislation regarding the protection, respect and promotion of human rights. 

This membership is also an expression of our achievements in the field of freedom and democracy that almost a quarter-century ago, seemed impossible. This inspires us to firmly continue our Euro-Atlantic path towards building a democratic society, as the only alternative for Albania and the region.