Albania

Executive Summary

The Republic of Albania is a parliamentary democracy. The constitution vests legislative authority in the unicameral parliament (the Assembly), which elects both the prime minister and the president. The prime minister heads the government, while the president has limited executive power. In June 2015 the country held local elections for mayors and municipal councils. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) assessed the elections positively overall but observed important procedural irregularities. In 2013 the country held parliamentary elections that the OSCE reported were competitive and respected fundamental freedoms but were conducted in an atmosphere of distrust that tainted the electoral environment.

Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.

The most significant human rights problems were pervasive corruption in all branches of government, particularly in the judicial and health-care systems, and domestic violence and discrimination against women.

Other human rights problems included significantly substandard prison and detention center conditions, notably overcrowded, aged infrastructure, with a lack of medical treatment for inmates. Reportedly, police and prison guards sometimes beat and abused suspects and detainees and occasionally held persons in prolonged detention without charge. Political pressure, intimidation, widespread corruption, and limited resources sometimes prevented the judiciary from functioning independently and efficiently. The government made little progress in addressing the many claims for the return or restitution of property seized during the Communist era. Authorities demolished homes and businesses without due legal process or recourse for owners to receive adequate compensation. Government, business, and criminal groups sought to influence media in inappropriate ways, and there were reports of violence and intimidation against members of the media. Journalists often practiced self-censorship to avoid violence and harassment and as a response to pressure from publishers and editors. There continued to be indications of widespread child abuse. Forced and early marriage was a problem in some parts of the country. There were many displaced children and street children, particularly within the Romani community. The country continued to be a source and destination for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Marginalization and abuse of the Romani and Balkan-Egyptian communities were serious problems, as was discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Government enforcement of labor laws remained weak and rarely protected domestic and migrant workers. Large numbers of children were engaged in forced labor. There were reports of employment discrimination based on gender, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity, nationality, and ethnicity.

Impunity remained a problem. Prosecution, and especially conviction, of officials who committed abuses was sporadic and inconsistent. Officials, politicians, judges, and those with powerful business interests often were able to avoid prosecution. Authorities took technical measures, such as electronic payment of traffic fines, to improve police accountability and punished some lower-level officials for abuses.

Andorra

Executive Summary

The Principality of Andorra is a constitutional parliamentary democracy. Two co-princes–the president of France and the Spanish bishop of Urgell–serve with joint authority as heads of state. In March 2015 the country held free and fair multiparty elections for the 28 seats in parliament (the General Council of the Valleys), which selects the head of government. Having won a majority in parliament, the Democrats for Andorra re-elected Antoni Marti Petit head of government.

Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.

The country’s main human rights problem was the lack of legal protection for the constitutional rights of workers to bargain collectively or strike. The law does not protect workers from antiunion discrimination.

Other problems included domestic violence, including spousal abuse and child abuse. Gender discrimination persisted, especially related to unequal salaries for comparable work. Although the law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities, discrimination existed in the form of physical, social, and cultural barriers.

There were no reports that government officials or the national police committed violations.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future