U.S. English Foundation Research



Language Research

3. Language issues: Where does one observe language to be a problem in the country?

The Greek minority, whose number was estimated at about 70,000, continues to complain of a lack of opportunity for Greek-language education, although some improvements have been made in recent years in primary education. They further complain about discrimination in the field of religion and employment in the public sector. They also have not been allowed to form political parties that are based on ethnicity in Albania.

No discrimination was reported against the Vlachs, who speak Romanian as well as Albanian, or against the Cams, non-Orthodox ethnic Albanians who were exiled from Greece in 1944. Two distinct groups of Roma, the Jevg and the Arrixhi (Gabel), are established in the country. The Jevg tend to be settled in urban areas and are generally more integrated into the economy than the Arrixhi. Roma are clearly the most neglected minority group.

Updated (October 2001)

During a conference in Tirana, organized by the Council of Europe, national minorities in Albania expressed a need for basic minority rights in Albania, reported the Greek Helsinki Monitor. The seminar of the Council dealt with the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in Albania.

Among the participants were Macedonians, Greeks, Serbs, Montenegrins, Aromanians and other minorities, speaking up for the right to get an education in their mother tongue, to participate in the governmental administration and the right to freely express their national belonging and religious affiliation at the next census.

The participants mentioned several improvements for minority members in Albania in recent years, like the freedom to use their mother tongue in communication, the possibility to cultivate folklore and traditions, as well as the construction of a new school building in New Gorica. Despite these improvements in the relation between majority and minority, disturbance from representatives of the Albanian government, also attending the conference, were reported. The press release speaks about “repeated attempts to control, or more precisely to interrupt the presentation” of the minority memebers.