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On January 3, 2024, the Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM), of which KRIIK is a member, published a statement condemning the attacks in Serbia during the December 2023 early parliamentary elections in Serbia against the domestic election monitoring organization “Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability” (CRTA), attacks which consisted of obstacles to information and observing the preparations of the election process, up to cases of violence against observers of the organization.
KRIIK, as part of GNDEM, as well as of the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO), strongly supports this Statement and strongly condemns this anti-European approach of autocratic powers towards local election monitoring organizations, as well as other critical voices of the country’s civil society, as a whole. As the GNDEM statement points out, attacks by public officials threaten the ability of local organizations to observe elections.
Election observers, as stated also by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, are defenders of human rights who serve to protect the civil and political rights of citizens, and they need to be treated as such by the authorities.
Based on this Statement, KRIIK raises the concern that such actions, which are being applied in a number of countries with fragile democracy in Europe and beyond, mark steps backwards in strengthening democracy and the rule of law in the region, Europe, and beyond. International actors and states must react strongly and in time to such practices, preventing them from becoming the norm, leading to even more serious attacks on citizen observers.
Based on this Statement, KRIIK brings to the attention of the public opinion in the country, especially of the institutional and decision-making stakeholders, that the obstacles in the exercise of the mission of the monitoring organizations, lack of transparency and the continuous violation of the law, or intimidation in different forms, especially in the light of the massive patronage system established in the state administration and almost in the entire Albanian society, it is increasingly shrinking democratic space and laying the foundations for tolerating, sooner or later, the phenomenon of open violence during elections.
Such a situation seriously and substantively threatens the ability of citizens to participate in the public life of the country, in violation of Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights .
In this context, KRIIK repeats the call made before to the Leadership of the Political Parties, the Assembly of Albania and its Deputies to effectively assume and develop their responsibilities in implementing constitutional obligations, principles and democratic values, making democracy functional starting a genuine and comprehensive process for the Electoral Reform as soon as possible. Today’s call of the State Election Commissioner should be commended and taken into consideration as soon as possible.
In conclusion, KRIIK calls upon the State Authorities to react to the attacks carried out on election observation organizations in the neighboring country, as an indicator of their commitment to the democratic values and standards that Albania aspires to.
The Albanian Government, by virtue of being a Member of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations for the period 2024-2026, must speak up against the violation of the civil and political rights of citizens and especially of organizations that fight for their protection and promotion anywhere in the world, starting also from the Statement published by the Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors on the violation of these rights in the December 2023 elections in Serbia.
Tirana, on January 15, 2024!