"I cannot register them at school or any hospital. I have only the two boys. I want... I only want to register my two boys..."
This is how Elsa, mum to Eraldo and Elisi, explains what she struggles with every day of her life because her children were born stateless.
There are still more than a thousand children who are growing up unregistered and stateless in Albania. Our member Tirana Legal Aid Society (TLAS) has been working tirelessly for years to help parents like Elsa secure a nationality for their children.
Many more stories like Elsa’s surfaced during our research back in 2015 under the umbrella of our #StatelessKids campaign, alerting us to the severity of the issue. We have jointly campaigned ever since, calling on the Albanian government to end childhood statelessness.
Removing barriers to birth registration in Albania
Last month the Albanian parliament adopted amendments which remove barriers to birth registration. This reduces the risk of childhood statelessness, in particular for children of Albanian parents born outside the country and for children of the minority Roma and Egyptian communities. The amendments follow a recent mapping study by UNHCR done jointly with TLAS, as well as a TLAS report prepared jointly with us and our other #RomaBelong project partners – the European Roma Rights Centre and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion – as part of our wider work to tackle Roma statelessness in the region.
What happens next
Today, our Head of Policy & Research Nina will be in Tirana, capital of Albania, attending a meeting hosted by the Government under the auspices of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues, to make sure we see the amendments translated into real change on the ground. We will have a chance to talk to other government officials from the region who will be at the meeting to discuss opportunities to strengthen our collaboration.
Watch Nertil explain what it is like to grow up stateless.
We will continue to work with our 130 members across 40 countries to fulfil the goal of our #StatelessKids campaign to end childhood statelessness in Europe.