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Public Statement

26 February, 2021

 Public Statement


We recommend to the Albanian Assembly to request to the Venice Commission a Legal Opinion for the draft law “On the Registration of Non for Profit Organizations” and to avoid its approval in urgent conditions


The Commission of Legal Issues, Public Administration and Human Rights of the Assembly of Albania, organized on 24th of February 2021, a hearing session on the draft law “On the registration of Non for Profit Organizations” with civil society organizations representatives.

Being confident that the Assembly does not approve any legal initiative proposed by the executive but performs its important functions in accordance with the Constitution and in compliance with the principle of check and balance of powers, civil society organizations representatives addressed a request to the Assembly for organizing of this hearing session in October 2020, while the hearing session was organized only now, and furthermore one day after the approval of the draft law in principle by the Law Commission.

The initiative for a new law is very positive and welcomed by civil society organizations, which have been requesting it for years, but we note with regret that the attitude of state institutions responsible for drafting, proposing and reviewing this draft law has been exclusionary toward a sector such as of the civil society in the country, which is directly affected by it.

The consultation process was organized in the absence of a climate that guarantees inclusiveness, transparency, effective consultation and discussion in good faith.

We would like to inform the public opinion that when the initiative was drafted by the Ministry of Justice, representatives of civil society organizations were invited to provide their comments to this draft law only in the final stage of the process, after the fact that it was effectively finalized and within a period of 7 days, that does not meet the minimum requirements of the law “On notification and public consultation”, where stakeholders must have at least a one month period of consultation. Despite the short consultation deadlines, the NPO representatives offered their input in this process, but the Ministry of Justice reflected a very low number of suggestions and did not provide explanations for the reasons or arguments for rejecting the other ones.

At the hearing session in the Law Commission organized on February 24th, the discussions by representatives of CSOs highlighted a number of principle issues that the draft law has. With regret, we note that the statements articulated during the hearing session by members of the Law Commission have biased and prejudiced tones towards the sector.

The Ministry of Justice and the Assembly presented that this draft law addresses the MoneyVal recommendations of the Council of Europe while the issues raised by the civil society sector are not related to issues of the MoneyVal recommendations.

We oppose provisions in draft law that create an uncertain and vague situation for the civil society sector and that may put the sector under pressure of unfair and intimidating attacks, especially those organizations that monitor and aim to increase state institutions’ accountability and responsibility.

We would like to clarify to both the public opinion and the Assembly as well, that the civil society sector does not oppose any provision aimed at preventing or combating terrorism or terrorist financing through the activities of civil society organizations.

We also specify that even with the legal framework in force, every non-profit organization has the obligation to report to the tax institutions.

In the draft law proposed by the Council of Ministers, we note that there are provisions for which earlier, the Venice Commission has expressed substantial reservations in its 2014 opinion on the legislation of Azerbaijan, finding it in violation of international standards . In this opinion the Venice Commission found that the proposed changes in the legislation of Azerbaijan have a chilling effect in the non-profit organization and that the discretion of supervising by the public authorities is unlimited nor clearly define in a explicit manner.

Following the hearing session on 24 February 2021, after presenting to the Commission all the above issues, we were invited by the Commission to a working meeting on 26 February 2021 to continue the discussions on the issues raised.

Appreciating the readiness of the Commission to organize this meeting, a representative of the group of organizations participated in the meeting on February 26th, where on behalf of the group were submitted comments on the draft law and stressed again to the Commission representatives that as long as the draft law has a number of issues in principle, cannot be discussed article by article.

As above, considering the great importance and impact that this legal initiative has on civil society organizations which must exercise their mission in accordance with all international standards sanctioned in the Conventions to which our country has acceded and which provide for freedom of organization, we recommend to the Assembly:

  1. To not approve the proposed draft law in the conditions of an emergency that undermines the effective consultation with civil society organizations as the main stakeholder and group of interest;
  2. To request to the Venice Commission a Legal Opinion for the draft law, regarding the compliance of this draft law with European standards and international experience in the fields of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Based on the previous experience of the Assembly to consult with the Venice Commission for initiatives of special importance such as the draft law “On the legislative initiative of voters in the Republic of Albania”, the legal initiative for vetting in politics, constitutional amendments in the frame of the justice system reform, the draft law “On guaranteeing the integrity of the persons elected, appointed, or that exercise public functions”, etc., we hope that this request of 119 civil society organizations will be taken into consideration and to give an opportunity to a body above the parties, as it is The Venice Commission to give a legal opinion on the compliance of this draft law with international standards.

(in alphabetical order)

A.L.T.R.I Center

Academy of European Integration and Negotiations

Academy of Political Studies

Agropuka Association

Albanian Association of Italian Language Teachers (A.P.A.D.I)

Albanian Association of PJHA

Albanian Center for Population and Development (ACPD)

Albanian Centre for Economic Research (ACER)

Albanian Centre for Environment Governance – (ACEG)

Albanian Consumer Centre

Albanian Disability Rights Foundation (ADRF)

Albanian Helsinki Committee

AlbContact Center

ALERT Center

Alliance against Discrimination of LGBT, Albania

Alpin Association

ARSIS, Social Organization for Youth Support

Association Action for Change and Transformation –ACT

Association BID Berat

Association for Democratic Culture

Association For Women and Children

Asta Organization

AWEN-Albanian Women Empowerment Network

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – BIRN Albania

Beekeepers Association of Tirana

Beyond Barriers Association

Center for Bridging Communities

Center for Labor Rights

Center for Social Advocacy

Center for the Study of Democracy and Governance (CSDG)

Centre for Community Development “Today for the Future”

Centre for Parliamentary Studies

Centre Legal Civic Initiative

Child Rights Centre Albania (CRCA)

Civic Forum of Selenica

Civil Right Defenders Albania

Community Reporters Albania

Consulting and Development Partners

Cooperation and Development Institute

Co-PLAN Institute for Habitat Development

Counseling Center for People with Disabilities

Counseling Line for Boys and Men

Counseling Line for Women and Girls

Different & Equal

Dorcas Aid International Albania

Ecological Club, Elbasan

Ekolëvizja Group

Environmental Center for Development Education and Networking  (EDEN)

Epoka e Re Center

Euro Partners Development

European Movement Albania

For Social and Environmental Welfare” Berat.

Forum for Free Thought

Gender Alliance for Development Center (GADC)

Gender, Peace and Security Association

GLV Integrimi

GO2 Organization for Sustainable Urban Planning

Hand to Hand Against Nation Apathy – “H.A.N.A” Center

Help the Life Association

Human Dimension Organization

Human Right in Democracy Center

Information Centre Aarhus, Shkodra (AIC)

Information Network and Active Citizenship (INAC)

Institute for Democracy and Mediation

Institute for Development and Civic Initiatives

Institute for Development and Research Alternatives (IDRA)

Institute for Policy & Legal Studies (ISPL)

Institute for Political Studies

Institute of Roma Culture in Albania

International Solidarity Association (SHIS)

International Voluntary Projects, PVN

Liburnetik Association

Light Steps Women Centre

Local Democracy Agency

Missionaries of Social Rights, Kuçovë

My History blog

National Association for Integration and Development (SHKIZH)

National Association of Social Workers

National Centre for Community Services

Natural Resources Development Organization

North Green Association

Observatory for Children and Youth Rights

Open Doors Center

Open Horizon Association

Open Society Foundation Albania

Partners Albania for Change and Development

Patients with Chronic Diseases in Albania Network

People First Association

Professional Business and Craft Association of Albania

Protection of the Natural Environment – Vlora

Psycho-Social Centre “Vatra”

Puka Beekeeper Association

Puka Youth Centre

Ray of Hope Organization

Resource Environmental Center – Albania (REC Albania)

Roma Active Albania

Roma and Egyptian Youth Movement

Shelter for Girls and Women

Social Contract Institute

The association “Social Center to Help People in Need” Fushë-Arrëz

The Association “Udhëtim i Lirë – Liberi di Viaggiare”

The Center for Protection of Natural Ecosystems in Albania, EcoAlbania

The Door

The Women’s Democracy Network Albania (WDN-Albania)

Tirana Legal Aid Society (TLAS)

Treja Center

Useful to Albanian Women

Vizion OJF Association

Voice of Roma in Albania

Walk in My Shoes Organization

Well Point Association- Care for all

Women in Development organization

Women in Public Service Albania Center

Women to Women

Women towards Integration Organization

YMCA Tirana

Youth Activities Centre

Youth Center Perspektiva

Youth Voice Network