From the 27th of February to the 1st of March of 2018, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights welcomed a 16-person delegation from Albania. The study visit took place within the context of the EU- Council of Europe Joint Program “Enhancing the effectiveness of the Albanian system of human rights protection and anti-discrimination”. Delegates from the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the People’s Advocate and the Council of Europe’s Project Team in Tirana participated in the activity.
After an introduction to the Austrian institutional system carried out by Monika Mayrhofer from BIM, several Austrian institutions from the fields of equality and non-discrimination opened their doors to share their valuable insights and practice. The delegation had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Equal Treatment Commission, the Chamber of Labour, the Austrian Ombud for Equal Treatment, the Austrian Ombudsman Board, the Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities, the Service Centre of the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Litigation Association of NGOs Against Discrimination. Additionally, they met with the city’s mandated Vienna Anti-Discrimination Unit for Lesbian, Gay and Transgender People.
On the last day, Susanne Fraczek and Agnes Taibl from BIM’s European Neighbourhood and Integration Policy team had the pleasure to share experiences and accomplishments in relevant projects in the Balkan region (particularly Twinning) with the participants.
The visitors have gained insights in various areas such as the Austrian legal framework, the monitoring of the implementation of EU conventions on anti-discrimination and the distribution of responsibilities at different levels of government in Austria. They got a good overview on the various options for victims of discrimination, ranging from counselling and mediation to bringing their case before a court. The Austrian institutions and the delegation also discussed referral mechanisms, cooperation between NGOs and public sector as well as best practices in public relations.
Showing their praiseworthy commitment and proactivity during the three intensive days, the Albanian representatives achieved a high level of interaction and rich discussion with the different host institutions. From BIM we would like to wish our very best for the current efforts of the visiting bodies at improving the effectiveness of the Albanian system of human rights protection and anti-discrimination within the EU-CoE program.