Launching event for presenting the report on underage marriages

Tirana, 10 March 2017

Observatory in partnership with Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), realized the meeting for presenting the Report on the legal, judicial practice and social aspects of underage marriages in Korca and Pogradec for the period 2011 – 2016.

Observatory with the support of CFLI has implemented the initiative “Prevention of early marriages in strengthening the legal mechanisms and social perceptions, as a tool to empower women and girls (PREVENTION)”. The project is implemented by the Observatory through “monitoring decisions of District Courts of Korca and Pogradec for the period 2011 – 2016″ followed with the social analyze of these cases.

Aiming the improvement of the court decisions with the respect of highest interest of the child, the open meeting has collected the representatives of international and national institutions, various ministries and the central and local subordinate institutions together with NGOs operating in the field of children’s rights.

Some of the legal and judicial practice recommendations of the report are:

  • For the Court, keeping the interest of the minor in mind should be the main consideration and this special care needs to be reflected in the content of the decision as clearly as possible through the specific analysis according to the case.
  • Only the minor seeking to enter into underage marriage is the one that is actively legitimated to make the request.
  • A very important principle that should be kept in control by the Court is the autonomy of the will of the minor requesting permit to enter into underage marriage. In order to evaluate this will, the minor should be personally present throughout the entire process. The Court should guarantee the right of the minor to be heard and informed. The Court should keep in mind that the younger the age of the person the easier it is to manipulate the minor to enter into marriage without free consent.
  • Taking the opinion of the psychologist on the psychological evaluation, free consent and social situation is a legal obligation and a great help for the Court, so that it can rule a fair decision and to judge on the importance of the causes and their merits, as well as the physical and psychological maturity of the person through the verification of the psychologist.
  • The Court should keep in mind that the juvenile girls in difficult economic situation are more exposed to the risk of fictitious marriages or the promises of marriage that end up to exploitation for prostitution, trafficking or any other kind of exploitation.
  • As pertaining to the legislation, there is still room for improvements regarding the active legitimating of the minor girl and the determination of a minimum age below which underage marriage cannot be allowed for any reason. Furthermore, many of the suggestions include in this document may be also accompanied by legal improvements. The approach and harmonization with the international standards quoted in this report is still important.

The problems and issues that accompany underage marriages require an in-depth analysis of this situation throughout the entire country.

An adequate and productive intervention in this direction is related to the unification of the interventions and the efforts to improve the situation of women married under age by bringing together the policymakers, the state bodies involved in the enforcement of the law related to marriage, civil society organizations, donors, schools and the communities where these women live.

Let us give a voice to these girls and let them have a healthy and dignified childhood!

Roundtable, Juvenile Justice

Tirana, 16 December 2016

Round table for  the Report “With the voice of children deprived of their liberty”

The People’s Advocate, in collaboration with the Observatory for Children’s Rights and UNICEF launched the report “With the voice of children deprived of their liberty: monitoring of the conditions and treatment in the institutions of custody, pre-trial detention, and prisons”.

The report includes the findings and recommendations from the monitoring during August – Decmeber 2016 in Police Stations of Tirana, Institution for Serving of Criminal Sentences (ISCS) in Kavajë and Shën Kollë (Lezhë).

This report is prepared by a group of specialists in the field of human rights, justice and sociology and cognitive of international standards, in terms of juvenile justice. These experts, who developed the methodology and questionnaires, followed fieldwork for conducting the monitoring, analyzed data and prepared the report.

Some of the findings and recommendations

21 children interviewed for the purposes of this assessment. Sixteen of them belonged to the age group 16–18 years and five to the group 14–16 years.

  1. Seven children, only one third of the sample, had completed mandatory education. There seems to be a strong correlation between school non-attendance and conflict with the law among juveniles in Albania.
  2. For most of the children interviewed both parents were present in the family setting and were the income providers. High levels of poverty and a lack of possibility for parents to be more involved in the rearing of their children were the main factors that emerged during the interviews as causes for delinquent behaviour.
  3. The Kavaja facility seems to be well staffed and, during the time of the visit, the ratio of staff to juveniles in detention was two to one.
  4. Staff of ISCS Lezhë is low and has difficulty to realize the juvenile needs, for approximate 700 individulas.
  5. Fifteen respondents stated that they were informed of their rights upon arrest.
  6. With only one exception, respondents were given medical information and screening.
  7. The staff respondents were unable to understand and discuss special psychological care for the children.
  8. There is lack of regularity in medical examination for incarcerated juveniles.
  9. About half of the respondents were in triple-shared accommodation.
  10. While bedding and mattresses were available there were no provisions for clothing. In the Kavaja facility clothing is donated by civil society and aid-based organisations.
  11. Half of the respondents responded positively about education provisions. Qualified teaching staff to implement courses of compulsory education and vocational training seem to be missing.
  12. Nine children claimed to have been harmed, four of whom in the police commissariat.
  13. Abuse was reported, and in one case denounced
  14. Mistreatment was evident during the monitoring visits to the Shën Koll facility.
  15. Kavaja facility staff were trained by UNICEF and Save the Children in how to deal with children.
  16. There were no reports of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.
  17. Sixteen respondents claimed to have good relationships with others.
  18. Respondents had regular family visits, weekly or monthly. They also accessed information via telephone (20) or TV (14).
  19. Legal services were not provided free by the institution of incarceration.

Workshop- Debate for the data precondition of effective decision-making for children

Tirane, 15 November 2016

On November 15th, was conducted the workshop of Tirana Region entitled “Workshop- for promoting the debate on data precondition of effective decision-making for children”. This workshop was realized in accordance to the project entitled “Child Rights Observatory supports evidence-based child-sensitive policy planning, with focus on decentralized action” implemented in partnership with UNICEF in Albania following the 11 Workshops realized by Observatori in the other 11 Regions of Albania. In the Workshop participated representatives from: Regional Council of Tirana; Prefecture Tirane; local government municipalities of Tirana, Kavaja, Kamza and Vora; local institutions of health sector, pre education sector, social protection sector and police such as Regional Educational Directorate Tirane, Education office Kamez, Department of Public Health Kavaje, the Regional Health Authority Tirane, Social Services Tirane, Police Department Tirane; Commissioner for the Right to Public Information and Protection of Personal Data and from NGO that work directly or indirectly in Children’s Rights area. The participation of all these actors and institutions is a valuation and support to the work and mission that Observatory has realized during these years.

The debate has bring different issues and arguments, such as:

  • The need to unify the indicators collected from public institutions in order to be comparable internally and abroad in different reports. Initially it was suggested to unify a small number of indicators which would be easily applicable.
  • The process of data collection in nation, regional and local level for children, because of the wide range of indicators, is delicate and it has faced different difficulties despite the good will to collaborate by the local institutions. Anyway the progress for the period 2009-2015 has been improving from year to year, which shows a growing awareness of the institutions in this regard.

The new territorial division causes a shrink of the data because their collection is conducted in Municipality level and not in Administrative Unit level as integral part of these Municipalities.

The representative of Commissioner for the Right to Public Information and Protection of Personal Data stated that, according to the current low, statistical data that not constitute a state secret and that are not considered just for internal use, should be made available to all organizations or individuals according to their requirements within the terms defined by the low. This process is easier when the collaboration between organizations and state institutions is regulated by a agreement or a bilateral memorandum with rights and obligations clearly defined.



Debate for implementation of the three ministerial order “To identify and register in school every child at compulsory age”


The children do not abandon school when They are 16 years old, but they neglect It since the first grade and then They wait 10 years to make this abandon official

 (Bob Keeshan)


(The case of  S.G. overcomes the extremes of pain and poverty. The family made by 11 members lives in miserable conditions is Durres. S.G. express that every child no exception want to go to school, but the reason that They have abandoned It is the the difficult economic condition and the fact that the older children have to take care of the younger ones while the parents work in different jobs to earn the living.

Currenlty in Hasa Koci School in Shkozet (which is one of the 10 pilot schools of  the initiative “Out of School Children” in partnership with UNICEF and the implementation of  Observatory for Children’s Rights), 2 of the girls of this family attend the second grade after a hard work by the school directory. With the attention of UNICEF and Observatory the case was referred and followed by the local institutions of Durres.

After the participation of the school staff  in training, workshops and activities of the initiative “Out of School Children”  to prevent the abandon of  school, currently the girls are attending school regularly showing a great interests and willing. S.G. expresses that have been the teachers who have provided food when She has not been capable to provide for them.

The school has started and every child want to attend! Despite the economic difficulties, the parents ignorance, the absence of sensitivity to invest in a way that secure the future are some of the factors that prevent this journey. To fulfill the gaps created in years, the government guarantees the education for every child. In this contexts, the families should be more sensitive regarding the registration and attendance of their children in the “genesis” cycle- in preschool.

The debate that we have conducted was related with the fact that the school is not only the education mechanism, but It is also has connective and coordinating functions and makes possible the children’s registration to school and the ongoing attendance. The teachers are missionaries,which with their vision and their spirit inoculate the pupils education among generations. In support of this mission very important actors are also the municipality/ administrative units, the police, the medical centers, etc.

The work model that harmonizes the interaction of all actors in local level regarding the cause of registering in school every child at compulsory age is the initiative“Out of School Children”.  This initiative, piloted in Durres region, is fulfilled in partnership between UNICEF and Observatory for Children’s Rights, with the attention of the Ministry of Education an Sports and with the support of all local structures. The purpose is to identify and register in school every child, despite the fact that they were born in the area or not, creating a favorable environment to live.

In January 5th was signed the Common order of the three Ministries (U3M – Ministry of Education and Sports (MAS), Ministry of  e Internal Affairs (MPB)  and Ministry of Health (MSH)) “To identify and register in school every child  at compulsory age”, in order to coordinate the inter institutional collaboration to make possible that every resident child attend school. U3M publication in the Official Gazette can be found in:

In this context several important steps have been taken regarding the children education including:

  • Raising a work practice for the workbook of the roles of the responsible institutions for the implementation of U3M.
  • The practice of the intersection training between the staffs of the schooling and local institutions which are charged with  responsibility and role by the U3M signing.
  • The guides and instructions for monitoring the best schooling practices for reducing the school abundance and for integrating in school the out of school children.
  • The training practices for the actors in the base educational institutions in order to ensure the regular attendance and the completion of the base education by every children.
  • The work practice for the extraction of the data for international indicators of the educational system.
  • The practice of the intersection of the lists from different sources in order to identify out of school children.
  • The practice of the inter institutional collaboration to intensifies the work regarding the case of out of school children

The call for the children education is addressed to everyone. The education of every child is an every day mission, the implementation of which asks for attention and commitment in time of everyone.

Training’s and debate with representative of the pilot schools_ May 2016

“Out of school children”, an initiative of MoES, with the support of UNICEF is implemented by the Observatory for Children’s Rights. This initiative started in 2013 and was followed by the Observatory for Children’s Rights from 2014 onward, with the aim of identifying and registering in school all children of compulsory education age as well as preventing school leave by children who are at risk of dropping out. This initiative aims to establish adequate mechanisms that facilitate the attendance of school from every child of compulsory school age till 9 grade.

In the framework of the initiative, on 13, 14, 27 and 28 May 2016 were held training’s (2 day training’s) with 51 representative of the pilot schools (directors, teachers and psychologists), with the aim of the awareness and support of each educational institution and every community member in obtaining registration of all children of school age in school attendance, regular attendance, inclusion and the end of compulsory education.

Some of the debate results during the training are listed as follows:

  • Inform director, teaching staff and members of communities on their roles and responsibilities in identifying cases of children who are not yet enrolled in school, the children who do not attend regularly teaching and prevention school dropout risk cases.
  • Provide pedagogical strategies and emotional support for students who tend to dropout.
  • Introduce a mechanism to identify children who tend to drop out of school and finding effective ways of their social involvement in school life and activities.
  • Strengthening the family-school-community relations and the functioning of the bodies set up within the school.

Training and the debate for the issue of out of school children was facilitated by Mrs. Aurela Zisi, IZHA. During the training was explained the training module developed in the framework of the initiative “Providing attendance and completion of basic education for every child.”

Roundtables and promoting debate and dialogue in the framework of the identification of out of school children

Observatory for Children’s Rights (Observatory) during the period February- April 2016 organized round tables by promoting debate and dialogue with special groups of participants to discuss the process of out of school children identification. Round tables were realized in the framework of the initiative implementation “Out of school children”, with the special attention of the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) and in partnership with UNICEF Albania.


About the initiative

“Out of school children” initiative is realized with the special attention of MoES, in partnership with UNICEF Albania and is being implemented by Observatory. This initiative has started since 2013 with the aim of identifying and registration of all children at compulsory age also preventing drop out of school phenomena of children at risk of drop out. The initiative aims establishment of appropriate mechanisms that every children at compulsory age to follow the school.

Implementation of 3 Ministerial Common Order (3MO) “For identification and registration in school of all children at compulsory age” is being piloted in Durres Municipality. In collaboration with the working group, composed by representatives of Ministry and other institutions, are selected 10 9- year public schools of Durres Municipality (according the new administrative reform). Criteria of selection were based on Performance Card of each school. In 10 pilot schools of Durres, the interventions for monitoring the implementation of 3 Ministerial Common Order are intensified.


The purpose of meetings and debates

The meetings were realized with the aim of progress of identifying out of school children and mobilization of all local actors for implementation of 3 Ministerial Common Order “For identification and registration in school of all children of compulsory age”.


Groups that participate in round tables

Rountables were realized in collaboration with local institutions in Durres and specially with:

  • Regional Directory of Education (RED) Durres;
  • Institution of Prefect Durres.

Special groups that participate in roundtables are:

  1. Directors of 10 pilot schools and other schools;
  2. Teachers of 10 pilot schools and other schools;
  3. Students, members of Student Government of 10 pilot schools;
  4. Psychologist and social workers of 10 pilot schools and other schools;
  5. Students, members of Student Government of different schools;
  6. Parents, members of Parental Council of 10 pilot schools;
  7. Representatives of different local institutions in Durres;
  8. Working group from Ministries and depending institutions for implementation of 3 Ministerial Common Order.

Roundtables result with a large participation of different representatives, whom express their interest for mobilization in the frameworks of 3MO implementation.


Debate and Discussions for the Albanian reality of Early Marriages: The need for intervention. . .”

Debate and discussions for “The Albanian reality of Early Marriages: The need for intervention. . .”

Observatory for Children’s Rights in partnership with the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives organized the Conference focused on enhancing of different stakeholders engagement and outline of intervention strategies to prevent and eradicate the phenomenon of child early marriage in Albania. Drawbacks and perpetual problems faced by girls–women and their newly established families throughout their lives were acknowledged and addressed in the statements/speeches of high governmental authorities, as well as by each panelist and participant of this conference.

Research tackling issues related to early and child marriages as societal problems of women and youth at the local levels, along with increasing of awareness to prevent early child marriage at the local and national level can be considered innovative and progressive in countries like Albania, where this phenomenon has spread its roots deep into history and unfortunately revived lately by the very dynamic social factors of a prolonged transition. Regional and global research place special focus on indicating the long-lasting consequences of the child early marriage on physical and emotional wellbeing and infringements of the rights to education and development (personal, professional and economic). Similar findings were evidenced through our detailed snapshot of the Albanian reality urging for immediate interventions to address the push and pulling factors of child early marriage in Albanian context.

Under the CRC[1] and CEDAW[2] Albania is required to consider the issue of early marriages and report about it. The coordination and intensification of joint efforts on early marriage in the Albanian context is a crucial imperative.

The constructive debates has bring the expression of the willingness of Ministries for future cooperation to reduce underage marriages through:

  • Strengthening the role of CPUs and CRU’s which are suitably placed at local and regional level;
  • Support of young mothers through specific social intervention programs;
  • Individual work with girls -mothers;
  • Addressing the gaps through adoption of necessary changes in the legal framework;
  • Conducting of a national study including areas in northern Albania;
  • Provision of tailored psycho-social services to address young people needs.

The multifaceted issue of early marriage both in terms of reducing its occurrence and in terms of adressing its consequences represents a give-and-take process among different stakeholders groups including the Government of Albania and its host of institutions, the local government as implementer and supporter of policies, donor community interested in the issues related to early marriage, media outlets, community at the local level, and the civil society operating at the local level.

We are convinced and inspired that an effective cooperation among the above-mentioned stakeholders will provide the best policy and social environment where these girls are empowered to have a stronger voice and take the lead of their lives – “to enjoy being girls before being brides!”

            Team Work

Observatory for Children’s Rights

[1] Child Rights Convention

[2] Convention for Elemination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women

Observatory for children’s right comments for The National Plan for European Integration 2016-2020