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The UN Special Rapporteur on migrants, Francois Crepeau, urged Tirana on Tuesday to do more to help Albanian citizens living abroad register their children.
|17-year-old Admir Cela, hitchhikes back to his city of Fier in central Albania from the Greek border after being expulsed from Greek authorites as an illegal migrant | Photo : By Gjergj Erebara, April 2010|
“Every child has the right to be registered immediately after birth, acquire a name and a nationality,” Crepeau said at the end of a factfinding mission in Albania.
“It is unacceptable that children be born into statelessness in today’s Europe,” he stressed.
“Both Albania and host countries should consider urgent measures to address this situation,” he added.
An estimated one-third of Albania's population now lives outside of the country. The biggest diaspora communities live in Greece and in Italy. But the children of these families who live abroad without proper residency documents face often difficulties in obtaining Albanian identity documents as well.
Crepeau said Albanian consular offices needed to be better staffed to respond adequately to the needs and rights of Albanian migrants living and working abroad.
The Rapporteur expressed further concern about the situation of Albanians abroad who face criminal proceedings and called on the Albanian government to intensify its efforts to assist and reach out to Albanians returnees, regardless of whether their return is voluntary or forced.
Due to its geographical proximity to the European Union, Albania is a country of transit and, increasingly, a country for irregular migration, although still on a small scale. The Rapporteur stressed the importance of preparing for the number of foreign migrants to increase as the Albanian economy grows.
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