Albania outlaws homosexual discrimination

Feb. 16, 2010 at 7:40 PM

NEW YORK, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch congratulated the government of Albania on its new anti-discrimination law in a letter to the prime minister Tuesday.

The bill, introduced by the government of Prime Minister Sali Berisha, protects Albanians from discrimination, including on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

"Albania's government has shown leadership in the fight for equality," Boris Dittrich, advocacy director in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender program of Human Rights Watch, said. "The bill's inclusive provisions, if carried out properly, will help build an open society where all can live freely."

In the letter, Human Rights Watch urged Berisha to ensure the Office of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, an agency created by the new law, and the Ministry of Labor have the funding they need to fight against discrimination of all kinds, especially against homosexuals.

Homophobia has been common in Albania, Human Rights Watch said. The group organized a roundtable discussion in February 2009 in Tirana with 10 Albanian organizations.

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