Albania: Investigate threats against Xheni Karaj

Prominent Albanian human rights defender Xheni Karaj has received death threats after backing lesbian couple’s attempt to register their twin daughters.

It was after Xheni Karaj and her organization Aleanca LGBT decided to back lesbian couple’s attempt to register as parents of their twin daughters that she started to receive hundreds of threats.

– The messages she has received are unusually numerous and brutal, says Mina Skouen, who is responsible for Equal Rights and non-discrimination in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

You should be hanged in the middle of Tirana

Karaj is threatened with murder and rape, and several of the slurs ask for her public execution. These are just a few of the messages she has received within the past few days:

-We will get you, tie your hands and feet with ropes and pull you with two cars to divide your body in two parts right in the middle of the square.

-You deserve gas chambers, you fagot. you shame our society. Fuck you.

– In case I rape Xheni Karaj and her friends why should i be called a rapist and not a gigolo.

She was also exposed to homophobic slurs by the journalist when taken part in a TV-program to discuss the case.

 

Anisa and Elida’ case

The twin daughters of the couple Anisa and Elida can only be registered to the birth mother, according to Albanian law. This is what Aleanca LGBT wants to challenge in court.

– Finding ways to create a legal framework for same sex families is an important part of ensuring the best interest of the child, and preserving the right to family and private life, says Skouen.

– Trying a case in court is a legitimate way of challenging legal precedent. The fact that only one of the parents can be legally recognized leaves the family in a legally vulnerable position.

Ensure protection

Xheni Karaj was recently featured in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s campaign Over the rainbow, and Aleanca LGBT has been an NHC partner for the past three years. The organization is well reccognized both in Albania and internationally for their committed and high quality human rights work.

– We are seriously concerned about the safety of Karaj and other people involved in this case, says Skouen.

Hate motivated violence is widespread in Albania, and threats may translate into action. As late as last night, a trans woman was brutally attacked in Tirana, by ten boys who shouted slurs like those flourishing in social media.

– The police should carry out a thorough and effective investigation of the threats against Xheni, and attack on the LGBTI community, and hold the responsible persons accountable. We also ask that they take the necessary precautions to ensure the personal safety of Xheni Karaj, family and colleagues, says Skouen.

– Finally, we encourage Albanian authorities to publicly state that this kind of harassment of human rights defenders will not be tolerated in Albania.

 

Please contact:

Employee

Mina Wikshåland Skouen

Senior AdviserEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 90 82 50 76
Read article "Mina Wikshåland Skouen"

Employee

Lasse Thomassen

Communication AdviserEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 947 945 61
Read article "Lasse Thomassen"