Albania

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 15 July 2015

Five-Year Review: State Party Albania was among the first 30 ratifications that triggered entry into force of the convention on 1 August 2010. It views existing legislation as sufficient to ensure its implementation of the convention. Albania has participated in all of the convention’s international meetings, serves as the convention’s co-coordinator on stockpile destruction and retention, and has condemned the use of cluster munitions in Syria and elsewhere.

In its initial transparency report for the convention provided in 2011, Albania confirmed that it has never used, produced, or stockpiled cluster munitions.

Policy

The Republic of Albania signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008 and ratified on 16 June 2009. It was among the first 30 ratifications that triggered entry into force of the convention on 1 August 2010.

After conducting a legislative review, Albania reported in 2013 that it considers existing legislation sufficient to implement the convention’s provisions.[1]

Albania submitted its initial Article 7 report for the convention in January 2011 and has provided annual updated reports ever since, most recently in May 2015.[2]

Albania actively participated in the Oslo Process that led to the creation of the convention and made many strong contributions from the perspective of a state affected by cluster munitions.[3]

Albania engages in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, including the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San José, Costa Rica in September 2014. It has attended all of the convention’s intersessional meetings held in Geneva since 2011, most recently in June 2015.

Albania has also participated in regional workshops on the convention. It attended a mine action symposium in Biograd, Croatia on 27–29 April 2015 that included discussion on cluster munitions.

Albania has served as the convention’s co-coordinator on stockpile destruction and retention since September 2013, together with Spain until 2014, and now France.

In September 2014, Albania condemned the use of cluster munitions “in any conflicts.”[4] It did not make a statement to condemn the use of cluster munitions at the intersessional meetings in June 2015.

Albania has condemned the use of cluster munitions in Syria on a number of occasions since 2013.[5] It voted in favor of two Human Rights Council resolutions in 2015 that condemned the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently on 2 July 2015.[6] It has also voted in favor of recent UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, including Resolution 69/189 on 18 December 2014, which expressed “outrage” at the continued use.[7]

Albania has yet to elaborate its views on certain important issues related to interpretation and implementation of the convention, such as the prohibition on transit, the prohibition on assistance during joint military operations with states not party that may use cluster munitions, the prohibition on foreign stockpiling of cluster munitions, the prohibition on investment in production of cluster munitions, and the need for retention of cluster munitions and submunitions for training and development purposes.

Albania is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Production, transfer, use, and stockpiling

Albania has reported that it has not produced or stockpiled cluster munitions.[8] In December 2008, Albania stated that it has never used or transferred cluster munitions.[9]

Cluster munitions were used in Albania in 1999 by forces of the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia and by states participating in the NATO operation.[10] In December 2009, Albania announced it had completed the clearance of all known cluster munition remnants on its territory.[11]



[2] The initial report is for the period from 1 August 2010 to 31 December 2010, while subsequent updated annual reports cover the previous calendar year. Albania’s 2015 Article 7 report is dated 15 March 2015 but was listed on the UN website as received on 7 May 2015.

[3] For details on Albania’s cluster munition policy and practice up to early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 28–29.

[4] Statement of Albania, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San José, 2 September 2014.

[5] Statement of Albania, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 10 September 2013.

[6] See, “The grave and deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/29/L.4, 2 July 2015; “The continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/28/20, 27 March 2015; “The continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/26/23, 27 June 2014; “The continuing grave deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/25/23, 28 March 2014.

[7] “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/RES/69/189, 18 December 2014. Albania voted in favor of similar resolutions on 15 May and 18 December 2013.

[8] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Forms B and E, 27 January 2011.

[9] Statement by Lulzim Basha, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 3 December 2008.

[10] Ibid.; and Rosy Cave, Anthea Lawson, and Andrew Sheriff, Cluster Munitions in Albania and Lao PDR: The Humanitarian and Socio-Economic Impact (Geneva: UN Institute for Disarmament Research, 2006), p. 7.

[11] Statement by Arian Starova, Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 3 December 2009; and Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form F, 27 January 2011.

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 17 December 2012

Policy

The Republic of Albania signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 8 September 1998 and ratified it on 29 February 2000, becoming a State Party on 1 August 2000. It enacted national implementation legislation in 2006, which includes penal sanctions.[1] Albania submitted its 13th Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report in April 2012.[2]

Albania attended the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November-December 2011, where it was represented by Deputy Minister of Defense, Dr. Arian Starova, and served as a vice-president of the meeting. Ambassador Gazmund Turdio opened the meeting on behalf of Albania as outgoing president of the Tenth Meeting of States Parties, held in Geneva in November–December 2010. During the meeting Albania made a number of statements, including on victim assistance, clearance, universalization, the International Support Unit, and cooperation and assistance. Ambassador Turdio reflected on his work as president in 2011 on universalization, including convening a workshop in Tirana for universalization partners, holding bilateral meetings with representatives of states not party in Geneva, promoting the convention at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and efforts to engage with Morocco in-country.[3] He noted that he had made statements to the media expressing deep concern over instances of new use of antipersonnel mines and called on all States Parties to condemn any future violations of the treaty’s norms.[4]

Albania also attended the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in Geneva in May 2012, where it gave an update on its progress on victim assistance.

Albania is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war, but has never submitted an Article 13 report for Amended Protocol II.

Production, transfer, stockpiling, and retention

Production of antipersonnel mines in Albania was suspended in 1990 and officially ceased in 1991.[5] Albania may have been a minor exporter of antipersonnel mines in the past. The last use of antipersonnel mines in Albania occurred in 1998 and 1999 in the northeast of the country during the Kosovo crisis.

Albania completed the destruction of its stockpile of 1,683,860 antipersonnel mines on 4 April 2002, more than two years before its treaty deadline.[6] In its initial Article 7 report, Albania stated that “there are no justifiable reasons for the retention of APM [antipersonnel mines] for training or any other purpose” and has therefore not retained mines since becoming a State Party.[7]

 



[1] Law No.9515 “The Implementation of the Convention on the Ban of Use, Storage, Production and Transfer of the Anti-Personnel Mines and their Destruction,” 2006. See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 126, for more details on the law and on previous laws giving legal force to the treaty in Albania.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011).

[3] Statement by Amb. Gazmend Turdio, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 1 December 2011.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Two production plants were converted to facilities for ammunition demilitarization by 2002. For more details on past production, trade, stockpiling and use, see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 99–101.

[6] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form F, 30 April 2003.

[7] Ibid., Form D, 3 April 2002.

Mine Action

Last updated: 23 October 2012

Contamination and Impact

Mines

Albania declared that it had completed clearance of all known mined areas in accordance with its Mine Ban Treaty obligations in October 2009.[1] Albania became contaminated by mines and other ordnance mainly as a result of the Kosovo crisis of 1998–1999 when forces of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia laid extensive minefields in the northeastern border districts of Has, Kukës, and Tropojë.[2] In a decade of demining operations started in 2000 by the Albanian Armed Forces (AAF) and which continued with several demining organizations such as RONCO, HELP, Swiss Foundation for Demining (FSD) and DanChurchAid (DCA), Albania released through survey and clearance a total of 16.6km2 of land, destroying 12,452 antipersonnel mines, 152 antivehicle mines, and 4,965 items of unexploded ordinance (UXO), including cluster munitions.[3]

Cluster munition remnants

Albania declared completion of clearance of all known unexploded submunitions in November 2009.[4] The northeast of the country had been contaminated with unexploded submunitions from at least six NATO cluster munitions during the conflict over Kosovo;[5] this left 44 areas covering 2.1km2 affected by unexploded submunitions, including BLU-97B, BL755, MK118 Rockeye, KB-1, and KB-2 submunitions. Between 1999 and 2005, there were 32 incidents involving submunitions, which resulted in nine deaths and 44 people injured.[6]

Other explosive remnants of war

Clearance of explosive remnants of war (ERW) in the northeast border region of Kukës, mainly UXO resulting from the conflict in Kosovo in 1999, was completed by the end of 2009.[7]

Albania still faces a threat from abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO) around former army ammunition storage sites which were destroyed and looted during internal turmoil in Albania in 1997, leaving tons of dangerous munitions scattered around. The AAF conducted surface clearance of 15 so-called hotspots in 2003, but technical assessment conducted by the Albanian Mines and Munitions Coordination Office (AMMCO, formerly the Albanian Mine Action Executive, AMAE), which visited most of these hotspots in 2011, showed that the areas still contain live and abandoned ammunition which attract the attention of scrap metal collectors and pose a serious risk of injury to civilians.[8] Albania plans to complete hotspot clearance by the end of 2014.[9]

Albania is also still tackling contamination that resulted from the 15 March 2008 explosion at a military depot used for demolition of munitions in Gerdec village, about 13km from the capital, Tirana. The explosion killed 27 people, injured some 300 others, and scattered up to 600,000 projectiles/pieces of 9,000 tons of UXO across four other villages, contaminating an area of approximately 3.5km2. The explosion completely destroyed some 200 houses and damaged approximately 1,500 to some degree (as well as 32 businesses and 34 farms), inflicting damage estimated at that time at US$18.75 million (€12.7 million).[10]

The AAF conducted emergency clearance from 17 March to 3 April 2008;[11] DCA carried out some emergency clearance in 2008;[12] and Sterling International/Explosive and Ordnance Demilitarisation Solutions (EODS) took over clearance in 2009.[13] There is no available estimate of the current size of the contamination.[14]

Albania has also had to dispose of substantial stocks of obsolete munitions held in poorly maintained military depots near populated areas. As of the end of 2010, it still had about 74,000 tons of these dangerous surplus munitions, but by the end of 2011 stocks had fallen to 26,000 tons (26 million kg).[15] Albania has planned to complete destruction of these stocks by the end of 2013.[16]

Mine Action Program

Key institutions and operators

Body

Situation on 1 January 2012

National Mine Action Authority

Albanian Mine Action Committee

Mine action center

Albanian Mines and Munitions Coordination Office

International demining operators

NGO: DanChurchAid

Commercial: Sterling International Explosive and Ordnance Demilitarisation

Solutions

National demining operators

Albanian Armed Forces

International risk education operators

ICRC (financial support to Albanian Red Cross)

National risk education operators

Albanian Red Cross

 

The Albanian Mine Action Committee (AMAC), an interministerial body formed in October 1999, serves as the “executive and policy making body for mine action” in Albania.[17] In 2008, AMAC contributed to the emergency response to the Gerdec explosion but responsibility for the operations in Gerdec was with the Ministry of Defense[18] until mid-2011.[19]

The AMAE, set up at the same time as AMAC, coordinated and monitored mine action in Albania until completion of demining at the end of 2010. In December 2010, the Ministry of Defense engaged AMAE to assist in tackling hotspots to help ensure that clearance and ammunition disposal was conducted according to international standards. In addition, AMAE was converted to AMMCO.[20] The Ministry of Defense and UNDP signed a memorandum of understanding in November 2011 which will run to December 2013 under which UNDP will give AMMCO technical and financial support and help to develop a humanitarian framework and standards for clearing hotspots. The Ministry of Defense provides storage for unexploded ammunition and is responsible for its destruction.[21]

Under an agreement between the Albanian Ministry of Defense and the United States (US) State Department, the International Trust Fund: Enhancing Human Security (ITF) contracted Sterling International/EODS in 2011 to clear ammunition hotspots. Sterling International/EODS subcontracted DCA, which had conducted mine clearance until 2009, to clear two hotspots in Ura e Gjadrit (Shkoder) and Gjeroven (Berat) in 2012.[22] Under this process, the AAF explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams are responsible for transporting ammunition found during clearance for disposal. The role of the AAF EOD teams was expected to increase in 2012.[23]

Sterling International/EODS also supports the Albanian Armed Forces in UXO/ammunition clearance and removal in Gerdec.[24]

Land Release

No mine clearance or cluster munition clearance activities were conducted in Albania during 2011. As noted above, major clearance operations were completed in 2009.[25]

Five-year summary of clearance[26]

Year

Mined area cleared (m2)

Battle area cleared (m2)

 2011

0

0

 2010

0

0

 2009

113,491

280,784

 2008

122,433

94,640

 2007

61,040

48,714

Total

296,964

424,138

 

Survey in 2011

In July to December 2011, an AMMCO team supported by a senior technical advisor from the Swiss Armed Forces conducted technical assessments of 15 hotspots in 11 locations, with three more remaining to be conducted during 2012. Of the 15 assessed, three were rated as high risk and therefore a high priority for clearance; two were discounted as presenting no risk; the remainder were categorized as either low or medium risk.[27] The assessments were designed to identify the exact location of hazards, determine clearance requirements, develop standing operating procedures for quality assurance and control, and determine the impact of hazards on the community and the need for risk education (RE) and victim assistance.[28]

In general, the assessment team found that all hotspots contain dangerous, scattered ammunition despite several surface clearance operations conducted in the past by the AAF. Ammunition attracts scrap metal collectors with the consequent risk to life and limb.[29]

Compliance with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Albania was required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 August 2010. Albania reported completion and the fulfillment of its Article 5 obligations in October 2009.[30]

Compliance with Article 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Albania became a State Party on 1 August 2010 upon entry into force of the convention with a deadline for clearance of all unexploded submunitions of 1 August 2020. A general survey in 1999 had identified 44 areas contaminated by cluster munitions covering 2.1km2. Albania stated in November 2009 that it had already completed clearance of all remaining contaminated areas with the destruction of 4,869 unexploded submunitions.[31]

Battle area clearance in 2011

Ordnance Demilitarization Solutions (based in the United Kingdom) was subcontracted by Sterling International/EODS to clear contamination at Gerdec; it continued operations in 2011 in cooperation with the AAF. This project is conducted under a Technical Agreement between the Albanian Ministry of Defense and the US State Department.[32]

In 2011, teams cleared or deep searched a total of 111,329m2, finding a total of 4,339 items of ordnance, including 2,747 items found during deep search operations. Overall, 2,856 items were moved to storage and 1,474 munitions destroyed.[33] Since the beginning of the project, Sterling International/EODS has searched 273,760m2 to a depth of up to two meters on flat ground and 1.5 meters on hills, finding 21,709 munitions.[34]

Sterling International/EODS started another project in Gerdec in September 2011 to assist the AAF to remove an estimated 300,000 fuzes. By the end of 2011, Sterling International /EODS had removed 723 live fuzes, 6,793 parts of fuzes, and 18 high-explosive shells.[35]

DCA, subcontracted by Sterling International/EODS and funded by the US State Department, started operating in November 2011 on a hotspot at Ura e Gjadrit, near the Gjader river covering 91,000m². The AAF had previously conducted surface clearance in the area, but an assessment in July 2011 found mortar rounds, small arms ammunition, and mortar fuzes.[36] As of 27 January 2012, DCA teams had cleared a total of 32,620m2, removing 509 fuzes, 350 artillery shells, 68 mortars, 76 hand-grenades, and seven rocket-propelled grenades, as well as quantities of small arms ammunition.[37]

Quality management

An AMMCO monitoring team conducted six quality control and two quality assurance inspections of hotspot clearance operations in 2011. The AMMCO team consists of one team leader and two monitors.[38]

Safety of demining personnel

No demining accidents occurred during 2011.[39]

Risk Education

The AMMCO monitored and coordinated RE activities, conducted by the Albanian Red Cross (ARC) in 12 regions in Albania.[40]

The ARC implemented a data collection project in 12 prefectures. In addition, 5,000 leaflets prepared in consultation with AMMCO were distributed by ARC volunteers to areas affected by unexploded ammunition and containing messages for a safe behavior. The ARC, with funding from the ICRC, produced and distributed 2,000 new posters, mainly to areas around the hotspots where clearance operations were under way.[41]

 



[1] Statement by Petrit Karabina, Chair, Albanian Mine Action Committee (AMAC), Tirana Workshop on Achieving a Mine-Free South Eastern Europe, Tirana, 8 October 2009.

[2] Statement of Albania, Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 30 November 2009.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Statement of Albania, High-Level Segment, Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 3 December 2009.

[5] Albanian Mine Action Executive (AMAE), “Mine Action History,” www.amae.org.al.

[6] Email from Arben Braha, Director, AMAE, 20 April 2010; and Presentation by Aida Alla, Public Information Officer, AMAE, on Albania’s completion of clearance of cluster munition contaminated areas, “After Oslo 2008” Workshop on Cluster Munitions, Rakitje, Croatia, 10 February 2010.

[7] Email from Arben Braha, AMAE, 7 May 2010; and Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2009), Annex A.

[8] Email from Arben Braha, Director, Albanian Mines and Munitions Coordination Office (AMMCO), 8 February 2012.

[9] Telephone interview with Arben Braha, AMMCO, 31 May 2012.

[10] ITF “Enhancing Human Security” Annual Report 2011, February 2012, p. 89; emails from Gregor Sancanin, Project Manager, ITF, 28 March 2011; and from Gasper Plesko, Project Manager, ITF, 25 March 2010; and Statement by Col. Xhevdet Zeneli, Commander of Military Operations, Press conference, Gerdec, during the Emergency Period, News 24 TV, 26 March 2008. Average exchange rate for 2010: €1 = US$1.4726. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 3 January 2012.

[11] Aulona Kadillari, “Gerdec is cleared of UXO,” Tirana Observer, 3 April 2008, www.tiranaobserver.al.  

[12] Email from Anthony Connell, Programme Manager, DCA, 30 March 2009.

[13] Email from Shane Franklin, Country Representative, Sterling International Explosive and Ordnance Demilitarisation Solutions, 26 March 2010.

[14] Email from Arben Braha, AMMCO, 3 May 2012.

[15] Email from Gregor Sancanin, ITF, 28 March 2011; interview with Arben Braha, AMAE, in Geneva, 25 May 2009; and see Presentation by Gazmend Oketa, Minister of Defense, “Albania has in its territory about 100,000 tons of munitions,” Roundtable on the topic: “Disposal of Excess Ammunition – Enhancement of National Security,” Tirana, 18 July 2008.

[16] Telephone interview with Arben Braha, AMMCO, 31 May 2012.

[17] See AMAE, “Albanian Mine Action Program,” undated.

[18] Interview with Arben Braha, AMAE, in Geneva, 25 May 2009.

[19] Email from Arben Braha, AMAE, 8 February 2012.

[20] Email from Arben Braha, AMMCO, 8 February 2012.

[21] Ibid., 13 and 26 June 2012.

[22] Ibid., 8 February and 13 June 2012.

[23] Telephone interview with Arben Braha, AMMCO, 31 May 2012.

[24] Email from Shane M. Franklin, Deputy Project Manager – Albania, Sterling International/EODS, 7 March 2011.

[25] Email from Arben Braha, AMMCO, 8 February 2012.

[26] Emails from Arben Braha, AMAE, 20 April 2010 and 25 February 2011.

[27] Emails from Arben Braha, AMMCO, 8 February and 2 May 2012.

[28] Ibid., 8 February 2012.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Statement of Albania, Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 30 November 2009.

[31] Statement of Albania, High-Level Segment, Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 3 December 2009; and Presentation by Aida Alla, AMAE, on Albania’s completion of clearance of cluster munition contaminated areas, 10 February 2010.

[32] Email from Arben Braha, AMMCO, 2 May 2012; and from Shane M. Franklin, Sterling International, 7 March 2011.

[33] Email from Arben Braha, AMMCO, 2 May 2012; ITF, “Enhancing Human Security”, Annual Report 2011, February 2012, p. 90.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Email from Arben Braha, AMMCO, 2 May 2012; ITF, “Enhancing Human Security”, Annual Report 2011, February 2012, p. 91.

[36] Email from Arben Braha, AMMCO, 8 February 2012.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid., 8 February and 3 May 2012.

[39] Ibid., 8 February 2012.

[40] Ibid., 2 May 2012.

[41] Ibid.

Support for Mine Action

Last updated: 12 November 2017

In 2016, the United States (US) provided US$1.5 million through the ITF Enhancing Human Security for victim assistance and clearance activities in Albania.[1]

Summary of contributions: 2012–2016[2]

Year

International contributions (US$)

2016

1,500,000

2015

1,074,949

2014

1,935,000

2013

566,013

2012

160,738

Total

5,236,700

 



[1] Email from Steve Costner, Deputy Office Director, Weapons Removal and Abatement, US Department of State, 30 October 2017; and ITF Enhancing Human Security, “Annual Report 2016,” April 2017, p. 25.

[2] See previous Monitor Reports. Totals for international support in 2015 and 2014 have been rectified as a result of revised US funding data.

Casualties

Last updated: 16 October 2017

Casualties  Overview

All known casualties by end 2016

At least 998 mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties (151 killed and 847 injured)

Casualties occurring in 2016

0 (2015: 5)

2016 casualties by survival outcome

0 (2015: 5 injured)

 

In 2016, the Albanian Mine and Munitions Coordination Office (AMMCO) did not record any mine/ERW casualties in the Republic of Albania. In 2015, five child casualties of abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO) were recorded. In 2016, no casualties of AXO were entered in the national database, but casualties continued to be recorded in 2017, with six casualties recorded as of August.[1]

The casualties registered to August 2017 occurred in incidents on 20 January 2017 and on 22 and 25 March 2017. The incidents occurred on private property in Pogradec, and around the army buildings in Porto Romano Durres and Yrshek Tirana. Of the six casualties five were injured and one died after being transported to the National Trauma Hospital. One casualty was military. The others were civilian, including two children.[2]

Since 2009, less than 10 casualties have been recorded in Albania for each year. The last landmine casualties reported were in 2005.

Due to decreased funding there are some challenges to data collection. The Albanian Red Cross and Albanian Assistance for Integration and Development (ALB-AID) used to collect Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) forms and submit them to AMMCO. However, only in 2016, was ALB-AID in a position to gather casualty information.[3]

A total of 998 UXO casualties (151 killed and 847 injured) have been identified in Albania between 1997 and 2016.[4] The Albanian Mine Action Executive (AMAE) casualty database for Kukës region contained information on 272 mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties (34 killed; 238 injured) for the period 1999–2005.

Cluster munitions casualties

There have been at least 55 cluster munition casualties in Albania. The Kukës database recorded 53 casualties from cluster munition remnants (nine killed; 44 injured).[5] Two additional casualties, due to the use of cluster munitions, were also identified.[6] Data on all injured people by cluster munitions is disaggregated by age and gender. Albania reported that there were no changes to casualty data since its initial Convention on Cluster Munitions report submission.[7]



[1] Data provided by Veri Dogjani, Victim Assistance and Risk Education Coordinator, AMMCO, 21 August 2017.

[2] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Veri Dogjani, AMMCO, 21 August 2017.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form J.

[5] Albanian Mine Action Programme (AMAP), “AMAP Cluster Munitions Brochure 2010,” updated April 2010.

[6] Handicap International (HI), Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: HI, May 2007), p. 58; and HI, Fatal Footprint: The Global Human Impact of Cluster Munitions (Brussels: HI, November 2006), p. 22.

[7] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form H.

Victim Assistance

Last updated: 18 October 2017

Summary action points based on findings

  • Provide follow-up to address the needs identified during the needs assessment survey of 2014.
  • Support socioeconomic reintegration of survivors through vocational courses and other economic initiatives.
  • Consolidate and regularly update the database on socioeconomic and medical needs.
  • Significantly improve the availability of rehabilitation services.
  • Apply the knowledge developed through the victim assistance program to create small-scale affordable prosthetics and rehabilitation services throughout the country.
  • Make sustainable the existing health and prosthetics services in the mine-affected northern region.

Victim assistance commitments

The Republic of Albania is responsible for landmine survivors, cluster munition victims, and survivors of other explosive remnants of war (ERW). Albania has made commitments to provide victim assistance through the Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Conventional Weapons Protocol V, and has victim assistance obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Albania ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 11 February 2013.

Victim Assistance

There are at least 847 mine/ERW survivors, including those injured by abandoned explosive ordinance (AXO), in Albania.

Victim assistance since 2015

Victim assistance activities were coordinated and monitored by the Albanian Mines and Munitions Coordination Office (AMMCO) and carried out in cooperation with implementing partners including Albanian Assistance for Integration and Development (ALB-AID), the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Welfare and Youth, Kukës Regional Hospital, Directorates of Public Health, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Albania, International Trust Fund Enhancing Human Security (ITF), and the University Rehabilitation Institute Republic of Slovenia.

Immediately after Albania was declared mine-free in 2009, international funding for victim assistance was drastically reduced. Although much was said about linking mine action to development, no funding was made available for such activities and resourcing had not recovered by the period of the Maputo Action Plan.[1] Economic inclusion and psychological support remained the most serious needs of survivors. Overall, widespread poverty, unregulated working conditions, and poor medical care posed significant problems for many persons with disabilities.

ALB-AID (formerly VMA-Kukës, founded in November 2000) provided direct victim assistance, including economic inclusion.

The main victim assistance provider in Albania, ALB-AID, continued to implement victim assistance programs at an extremely reduced level due to decreased funding. Rehabilitative medicine remained at the basic level in Albania and was far from meeting the needs of survivors and other persons with disabilities. Some rehabilitation, mainly physiotherapy, was offered by small private clinics and professionals. More structured private services offered rehabilitation with other forms of therapy in addition to physiotherapy.[2]

ALB-AID, with help from AMMCO, continued conducting a survey and assessments of socioeconomic and health needs of marginalized unexploded explosive ordinance (UXO)/AXO victims within the framework of the Albanian Mine Action Program (AMAP).[3]

The aim of this survey was to promote the improvement of access of victims to medical and socioeconomic services provided by public and private, central and local operators, including different national and international institutions and associations. The survey projects resulted in detailed, consolidated socioeconomic data on survivors and their needs that was shared with Albanian line ministries and local municipal service providers for social support services. The project also raised awareness among local government institutions (social welfare departments) of their responsibilities to address the need for social and economic inclusion of UXO/AXO survivors.[4] ALB-AID utilized capacity from both its survivor network and the personnel who had worked at the unplanned munitions explosion area of Gerdec to survey survivors, some of whom live in extremely remote areas.[5]

Victim assistance in 2016

ALB-AID, with support from AMMCO began implementing assistance based on needs assessed through the three-year survey.

The Albanian Disability Rights Foundation (ADRF) and disability rights advocates increased activities. However, overall, persons with disabilities continued to face difficulties in accessing education, employment, healthcare, social services, and decision-making.[6]

Assessing victim assistance needs

Data on all people injured by cluster munitions in Albania is disaggregated by age and gender.[7] In 2013–2016, a socioeconomic and medical needs assessment of marginalized ERW victims in Albania was conducted by ALB-AID in three phases. In total, 979 people were visited and 726 survivors completed the survey. Of the survivors surveyed, 382 were identified from the AMMCO International Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) data base and 344 survivors were never previously registered and newly contacted.[8]

Victim assistance coordination[9]

Government coordinating body/focal point

AMMCO

Coordinating mechanism

Informal coordination meetings with all relevant government, NGO, and international actors

Plan

National Victim Assistance Plan

 

AMMCO is responsible for the coordination of victim assistance activities, resource mobilization, and liaising with the government. AMMCO’s mandate continued to involve expanding Albania’s existing victim assistance program to include other UXO/AXO survivors and persons in need of assistance. A national workshop with participation of all stakeholders including donors was held in 2016, presenting all the findings from the needs assessment projects.[10]

Albania’s National Victim Assistance Plan includes all pillars of victim assistance and is aligned with the Mine Ban Treaty, Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), Convention on Cluster Munitions, and CRPD.[11]

The National Disability Committee formed in 2015 was chaired by the minister of social welfare and included representation from seven disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) and seven service providers.[12] In June 2016, the government approved the 2016–2020 National Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities,[13] supported by a state funded budget of 1.5 billion Lek (US$12 million).[14]

Detailed information on victim assistance was reported in Form H of Albania’s Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 report for 2016.[15] Albania provided reporting on victim assistance activities in Form J of its Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report for 2016.[16] Demonstrating effective use of reporting mechanisms, the same victim assistance activities were also reported in its CCW Protocol V and Amended Protocol II reporting.[17] Albania did not make statements on victim assistance at the meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty or Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2016, nor at the Mine Ban Treaty intersessional meetings in June 2017.

Participation and inclusion

Survivors were represented in victim assistance planning and implementation of services, including the survivor survey and subsequent workshop, through participation in ALB-AID.[18] A landmine survivor leader was also a representative of a unique political party that specifically represents persons with disabilities.

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

AMMCO

Government/UNDP

Coordination, monitoring, and fundraising for mine/ERW survivors’ educational activities

Kukës Regional Hospital

Government

Prostheses and physical rehabilitation

Albanian Disability Rights Foundation (ADRF)

National NGO

Rights-awareness, legal aid, wheelchair production, advocacy, and monitoring

ALB-AID

National NGO

Social and economic inclusion (including education and vocational training), physical and psychosocial support, and the development of a survivor network

 

Medical care and rehabilitation

Albania has reported that in most cases inclusive/comprehensive rehabilitation services are not operational, limited in number, and those that do exist are often inaccessible for the majority of persons with disabilities. Therefore, persons with disabilities “have to refer themselves to private services to meet their needs.”[19]

During 2016, the Prosthetic Workshop at Kukës Regional Hospital supported about 42 amputees with new prostheses and provided major repairs for another 40 people. The workload at Kukës prosthetic workshop was continuously increasing, due to the poor functioning of the National Prosthetic Center in Tirana.[20] A physiotherapy education program based on European standards continued to be implemented by the Nursing Faculty of Tirana.[21]

The government funded the Albanian Disability Rights Foundation with five million Leks (US$40,000) for the production of wheelchairs.[22]

The ITF tender procedure for the procurement of rehabilitation equipment for Kukës Regional Hospital (deadline December 2016) was annulled due to insufficient funding. In January 2017, the notice was published and in May the materials were handed over to the Hospital. ITF was planning to republish the notice.[23]

According to the 2016–2020 National Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities, Albania should identify a budget for covering the cost of orthotics, prosthetics, wheelchairs, and other devices for persons with disabilities who receive a prescription in 2017. Subsequently the Ministry of Health and Minister of Social Welfare and Youth should implement the coverage of those costs from 2018 through 2020.[24]

Economic and social inclusion and psychological support

Generally, resource constraints and a lack of infrastructure made it difficult for persons with disabilities to participate fully in many social activities. Governmental social services agencies were often unable to implement their programs due to a lack of funding.[25] Albania identified a need for US$145,000 to implement vocational training and career development for survivors and their family members in the period 2016–2017.[26]

In November 2016, ALB-AID started a project to increase economic inclusion for 25 UXO/ERW survivors and family members through business training. The project was expected to be completed by December 2017.[27] As a result of the first phase of the project, five trained UXO/ERW survivors were employed or self-employed and 13 gained professional skills and entered the local job market or established their own businesses.[28]

National laws and policies

Many persons with disabilities lived in isolation and suffered social exclusion, lacking services to enjoy the right to live independently and be included in the community.[29]

Framework Law No. 93 of 2014 on the Inclusion of and Access for People with Disabilities protects the rights of persons with disabilities.[30] Albania has social services agencies to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, but the agencies often lacked funding to implement their programs. Resource constraints and lack of infrastructure made it difficult for persons with disabilities to participate fully in civic affairs.[31]

Secondary legislation for Law No. 93 contained a sub-act of incentives for the employment of persons with disabilities, including six full salaries, after which 50% of salary is provided through government support and coverage of employees’ social insurance. The package and other economic inclusion initiatives for persons with disabilities were supported by USAID.[32]

The government sponsored social services agencies to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, but these agencies traditionally lacked funding to implement their programs. Resource constraints and lack of infrastructure made it difficult for persons with disabilities to participate fully in civic affairs.[33]

In 2016, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) recommended increased access to healthcare services for women with disabilities, issues of women with disabilities to be included in labor legislation, and protection for women with disabilities who are at risk of, or victims of, abuse.[34] Law No. 54/2012 amending the Law on Social Programs for Housing Inhabitants in Urban Areas prioritizes the housing needs of women with disabilities, among other vulnerable groups of women.



[1] Email from Jonuz Kola, Executive Director, ALB-AID, 21 February 2011.

[2] Email fromSuela Lala, Albanian Disability Rights Activist, 7 March 2013; and interview, 21 May 2015.

[3] The survey conducted in Korça, Dibër, Durrës, Elbasan, Berat, and Gjirokaster had 296 respondents among the 354 survivors that were visited and also identified 189 people who are casualties of AXO previously not registered in the national database. ALB-AID, “Victims of Ammunitions in Albania: A general overview of their situation and needs,” 2014; and email from Jonuz Kola, ALB-AID, 17 July 2014.

[4] Jonuz Kola/ALB-AID, “Victims of mines and munitions in Albania, A general overview of their situation and needs,” Naimi Tirana, 2016, pp. 61 and 66; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form J.

[5] Interview with Izet Ademaj and Zabit Cukes, ALB-AID, Tirana, 20 May 2015.

[6] European Parliament, 2016 Commission Report on Albania (2016/2312 (INI)), Committee on Foreign Affairs, 3 February 2017, p. 11

[7] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form H.

[8] Jonuz Kola/ALB-AID, “Victims of mines and munitions in Albania, A general overview of their situation and needs,” Naimi Tirana, 2016, pp. 61 and 66; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form J.

[9] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form H; and interview with Veri Dogjani, AMMCO, 21 May 2015.

[10] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form J.

[11] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form B, May 2016; and CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report, Form E(a), May 2016.

[12] Interview with Flora Kalemi, Coordinator, ADRF, and Suela Lala, Disability Rights Activist, Tirana, 21 May 2015.

[13]National Action Plan on Persons with Disabilities 2016-2020,” June 2016, Approved by Decision of Council of Ministers No.483, on 29 June 2016.

[14] United States (US) Department of State, “2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Albania,” Washington, DC, April 2017.

[15] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2016), Form H.

[16] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form J.

[17] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form B, May 2016; and CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report, Form E(a), May 2016.

[18] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2017), Form H; and Monitor field mission notes, Tirana, 20 May 2015.

[19] Albania, “Initial Report Submitted by Albania Under Article 35 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 26),” May 2015, p. 45.

[20] CCW Protocol V Article 10 Report, Form E(a), April 2017.

[21] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2016), Form H.

[22] US Department of State, “2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Albania,” Washington, DC, April 2017.

[23] ITF, “Annual Report 2016,” Ljubljana 2017, pp. 40–41; and email from Gentian Palushi, ALB-AID, 1 August 2017.

[24] Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, “National Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities 2016–2020,” p. 124.

[25] US Department of State, “2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Albania,” Washington, DC, April 2017.

[26] Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report (for the calendar year 2015), Form H.

[27] ITF, “Annual Report 2016,” Ljubljana, 2017, p. 40.

[28] “Support social-economic reintegration of UXO/ERW survivors of Albania through Vocational Training Initiative (VTLEPI) (Vocational Training & Local Enterprise Initiative for UXO/ERW survivors of Albania),” undated but 2017, provided by email from Gentian Palushi, ALB-AID, 1 August 2017.

[29] UN General Assembly, “Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Albania, 19th session, Geneva, 28 April–9 May 2014,” Summary (A/HRC/WG.6/19/ALB/3), 24 January 2014.

[30] European Commission (EC), “Albania 2014 Progress Report,” October 2014, p. 37.

[31] US Department of State, “2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Albania,” Washington, DC, April 2017.

[32] Interview with Flora Kalemi, ADRF, and Suela Lala, Disability Rights Activist, Tirana, 21 May 2015; and USAID, “Persons with Disabilities Gain Access to Vocational Training Facilities,” 13 July 2017.

[33] EC, “Albania 2015 Report,” Commission Staff Working Document, 10 November 2015, p. 40.

[34] Albanian Center for Population and Development (ACPD), “Healthcare Field - Case of Albania: Submitted to the United Nations’ Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,” February 2016, p. 15.