Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

18 February 2008

Man's death highlights plight of Albania's adult orphans

Man's death highlights plight of Albania's adult orphans
Renato Kaleshi, aged 35, who was raised in Albanian state orphanages, died of pneumonia on 12 February in Vlora after living for years in conditions of misery.

The degrading and unhygienic accommodation in which Renato Kaleshi lived and died highlights the failure of the Albanian state to fulfil its legal obligations to ensure that orphans, when they reach adulthood, have access to adequate housing and to assistance and protection.

Renato Kaleshi had been paralyzed since childhood, allegedly following a fall which occurred while he was under state care in an orphanage, and since 1993 had relied on a wheelchair for mobility. He also suffered from heart problems. For the last 11 years, he had been living in squalid conditions in the semi-derelict former residence hall of the Commercial School in Vlora, together with nine other adults orphaned in childhood (adult orphans).

The group live in great poverty in this building, which is infested with mice, reeks of drains and has broken windows. They have no individual privacy, sharing two or three rooms between them. Nor do they have any security of tenure. The building is now private property and the owner is reported to have asked them to leave. The municipal authorities, who are primarily responsible for ensuring alternative adequate accommodation, have repeatedly failed to do so.

Albanian law grants orphans priority in housing and employment on completion of their education at the age of 18, with the aim of protecting them and integrating them into society. The right to adequate housing is also guaranteed in international law, under Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified by Albania. The Albanian state has blatantly disregarded these obligations.

Some 320 other adult orphans are living in similar conditions in “orphan ghettoes” in other towns in Albania. They often have few qualifications and are unemployed or do casual labour for low wages, surviving on minimal state assistance.

These adults, who were orphaned as children and raised in state care, have no possibility of renting or purchasing housing on the open market. The conditions in which they live exacerbate the stigma and social exclusion which is the fate of many orphans, undermining their ability to create warm and stable homes for themselves and for their own children, and rendering them vulnerable to exploitation.

Amnesty International calls on Vlora municipal authorities to urgently fulfil their legal obligation to provide the remaining adult orphans living in the former Commercial School with adequate housing. It also calls on the Albanian central authorities and municipal authorities throughout the country to take steps, as a matter of priority, to realize the right of the most vulnerable members of society, among them adult orphans, to adequate housing.

Read More

Albania: "No place to call home" - adult orphans and the right to housing (Report, November 2007)

Country

Albania 

Region

Europe And Central Asia 

Issue

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

25 July 2014

The sentencing of a newspaper editor and a human rights lawyer to two years in prison on charges of contempt of court after a grossly unfair trial in Swaziland is an outrageous... Read more »

24 July 2014

The prolonged execution of a prisoner in Arizona yesterday represents another wake-up call for authorities in the USA to abolish the death penalty, said Amnesty International... Read more »

22 July 2014

Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said.

Read more »
24 July 2014

Poland is the first European Union member state to be found complicit in the USA’s rendition, secret detention, and torture of alleged terrorism suspects, Amnesty International... Read more »

25 July 2014

Amnesty International's experts respond to some of the questions raised around the Israel/Gaza conflict.

Read more »