(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists)
Albania has been a parliamentary democracy since 1991 and, with the repealing of Article 137 of the old Criminal Code, same sex relations have been legal since 1995.
Albania is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, whose court jurisprudence provides implicit protection to LGBTI individuals under Article 8: The right to a private and family life.
In 2010 the Albanian parliament passed its own provisions against discrimination with Law no. 10 221 dated 4.2.2010.
Article 1 implemented the principle of ‘equality in connection with gender [...] gender identity, sexual orientation [...] or for any other reason.’
Article 11 allows for positive actions ‘speeding up the real establishment of equality’.
BN (Psychiatric Evidence - Discrepancies) Albania v. Secretary of State for the Home Department,  UKUT 279 (IAC), United Kingdom: Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), 28 June 2010, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4c6964be2.html [accessed 30 March 2012]
Soldier goes AWOL after caught having sex with a man in the barracks showers. UK asylum denied.
IM (Risk - Objective Evidence - Homosexuals) Albania v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, CG  UKIAT 00067, United Kingdom: Asylum and Immigration Tribunal / Immigration Appellate Authority, 8 September 2003, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/46836aee12.html [accessed 30 March 2012]
Persecution on grounds of homosexuality accepted but deemed not to be a risk elsewhere in Albania, thus UK asylum denied.
PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND/OR STATE'S CAPACITY TO PROTECT
‘While the Albanian parliament decriminalised homosexual relations in 1995, more than a decade later gays and lesbians are still heavily stigmatised, and a majority hide their sexual orientation, fearing that if it is discovered their safety will be endangered.’ (Balkan Insight)
Publications on the subject from the Australian Government Migration Review Tribunal, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Peace Corps Alumni, The Danish Institute for Human Rights and The Council of Europe suggest that homophobia is common in Albanian society, including the police.
More time is needed to properly assess the enforcement of Law no. 10 221, though the homophobia exhibited by the police force will limit its potential for protection as long as it remains a problem.
As reported in the Balkan Insight: In October 2011 Albania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner reprimanded ruling Democratic Party MP, Tritian Shehu, for saying in parliament that ‘homosexuality is a disease and should be treated with hormones,’ in December 2010.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)
PINK Embassy/LGBT Pro Albania
Pink Embassy aims advocates for the rights and needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual (LGBT) community and people still uncertain of their sexual orientation (Questioning), that they be fully respected and their needs and concerns be appropriately addressed. Pink Embassy aims to improve the attitude and behaviour of the Albanian government and society towards LGBT community individuals and issues, as well as the total integration of this community into the Albanian social, economic and political life. The website is available in English and Albanian and refugees from abroad are welcome.
Manager: Saimir Hoxha
Gay.al is Albania’s biggest gay community website and offers a forum for advice and personal stories. The website is available in Albanian and English and is useful for LGBTI persons originating from other countries
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SPECIALISTS
We have no specialist on LGBTI for Albania, but would welcome suggestions.
Researched by Edward Mundy
Email: ed [dot] mundy [dot] uk [at] gmail [dot] com (ed.mundy.uk[at]gmail.com)