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News 27 Oct 11

Albanian MP Reprimanded for Gay Slur

Albania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner has today reprimanded ruling Democratic Party MP, Tritian Shehu, for saying in parliament that “homosexuality is disease and should be treated with hormones,” last December.

Besar Likmeta
Tirana
Ruling Democratic Party MP Tritan Shehu

“Mr. Shehu should avoid discriminatory remarks in the future, which cause an atmosphere of tension and unfriendliness towards the LGBT [Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender] community in Albania,” the commissioner wrote in a letter to parliament.

The commissioner also recommended that parliament grant “all guaranties so that the thoughts, opinions and remarks of the LGBT community are heard, evaluated and taken into consideration, when they are directly involved on specific topics, in order to help the community to enjoy fully its rights and freedoms.”

The anti-discrimination commissioner is akin to an Ombudsman and was created in the winter of 2009, when Albania approved a bill to protect sexual minorities from discriminatory practices.

It remains unclear why the commissioner waited up to 10 months to review the case over Shehu’s comments.  

While the Albanian parliament decriminalised homosexual relations in 1995, more than a decade later gays and lesbians are still heavily stigmatised, and a majority hide their sexual orientation, fearing that if it is discovered their safety will be endangered.

Human rights reports on Albania concede that ingrained attitudes among the public leave Albanian gays and lesbians on the fringes of society.

According to the Albanian Human Rights Group, a Tirana based NGO, Albanian homosexuals face “intolerance, physical and psychological violence - often from the police - and discrimination in the workplace.”

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