Albania targets blood feuds

Aug. 23, 2007 at 2:05 PM

TIRANE, Albania, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The Albanian government is taking aim at blood feuds, adopting measures to boost reconciliation efforts between warring families.

Albania, which is hoping to join the European Union and is working to revive its struggling economy, has allocated funds to assist in reconciliation and provide teachers for children who are kept inside by their feuding families out of fear for their safety, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

"Rule of law must triumph over kanun," said Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, using a term for a code of honor. "I can't say we have eradicated it, but there is progress."

However, Albanians working to stop the feuds say progress has been slower than they would like.

"These things should not happen in a modern society, and they are holding this country back," said Gjin Marku, who chairs the non-profit Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation, which trains feud mediators. "There are far more feuds than I can even keep track of."

The committee estimates that more than 800 Albanian families are currently engaged in blood feuds.

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