Photo by Ivana Dervishi
As the Albanian student protests enter the 10th day, the resounding sound of silence from the US Embassy and European Union Delegation in Albania is deafening. To date, neither entity has passed any comment whatsoever or even acknowledged the existence of thousands of students protesting day and night on the streets of the city.
In a press release from the Albanian National Youth Network (ANYN), they publicly called for comment in support of the demands of the University Students who are asking for better studying conditions and a higher budget for education in Albania.
The statement reads:
“We publicly urge the USA and the EU to publicly come in support of the student’s demands and use their communication channels and the positive influence that they exercise in Albania to push the Albanian Government to take urgent measures to address the students’ demands. For the last nine days, students of public universities across the country are protesting to seek quality education, better living conditions at students’ residences and better mechanisms to fight corruption in high public education of Albania. Meanwhile, the Government, on their side, even though has expressed its support for students, has not yet taken any actions to solve the most urgent issues that the students have raised in their eight-point petition.
Young people in Albania make up to 25% of the population. More than 26% of them are unemployed. Such a high level of unemployment consequently makes most of the young people vulnerable to asylum and illegal migration. Albania has one of the largest numbers of asylum seekers in EU of any European country. According to GALLUP’s latest survey, at least 79% of young people want to leave Albania! This alarming situation affects almost all the Western Balkan countries but above all the European Union countries, as host countries.”
A number of European countries, organizations, student groups, and others have all come out in support of the student’s action, as well as 24 local an international NGOs. The reason for the silence of the EU and US Embassy is of great concern as both are usually vocal and active in a number of social issues. One can only assume that they have been instructed to be quiet by the Rama administration, or that they do not support the basic human right to education that is mandated both in the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
To the ambassador of the EU and the American Embassy, I reiterate the call for you to issue a public statement declaring your stance on the matter.