I am Aferdita Prroni, the Director of Human Rights in Democracy Centre, a grassroots Albanian NGO which works for the promotion and protection of human rights in Albania.
On March 10–14, 2019, I worked with the dedicated team of The Advocates for Human Rights and directly engaged in lobbying and advocacy activities at the UN level regarding the Universal Periodic Review along with colleagues from Ethiopia, Cote D’Ivoire and Russia.
Albania will be reviewed on May 2019 in the 33rd Session of the Universal Periodic Review. Prior to the Geneva visit in 2018, The Advocates and HRDC prepared the Albania Stakeholder Report for the United Nations UPR called Domestic Violence Situation in Albania.
My role in UN advocacy was to lobby with Council members by advocating for the local implementation of human rights standards and law. Another aim was to encourage the Albanian government to fully respect, protect, and fulfill human rights under the umbrella of international law and agreements.
During this time, I carried out approximately 25 meetings with Human Rights Council members where I shared information about the general state of women’s rights and domestic violence in Albania. I discussed our concerns and lobbied with them about the recommendations that we suggest they make to the Albanian state in the UPR review in May.
On Wednesday, March 23, The Advocates for Human Rights along with United Oromo Voices and Alternatives Cote D’Ivoire presented for the Parallel Events at the Palais de Nations. Panelists discussed human rights abuses as well as the upcoming Universal Periodic Reviews – including domestic violence in Albania.
For me, this was a great experience and opportunity as it allowed me to directly present information to the international community about human rights with a focus on domestic violence.
The meetings with diplomatic missions were a unique opportunity to raise awareness of domestic violence in Albania on an international level. We shared the progress that the Albanian state had accomplished in complying with international commitments, but also highlighted our concerns about how the situation could be improved. We emphasized our recommendations that our organizations would like to see made at the upcoming UPR.
Working with The Advocates and other colleagues helped me gain skills on how to strategically conduct advocacy and I will use these skills back home. I think Albanian NGOs needs to strengthen their lobbying and advocacy skills on both the national and international level.
This UN Advocacy experience was indeed successful as I was able to meaningfully engage over 25 states to advocate recommendations for Albania during its upcoming UPR review in May 2019. If such recommendations are taken into account, they will undoubtedly help improve the protection of human rights and the conditions of women/girls and victims/survivors in my country.
HRDC would like to thank the dedicated team at The Advocates for Human Rights for their precious support and their lobbying efforts, which will improve the human rights situation on the ground, not only in Albania but around the globe.
Thanks The Advocates for Human Rights for this unique opportunity!
By: Aferdita Prroni, Director of Human Rights in Democracy Centre