Week of Action Against Gun Violence in Albania

Coordinator: Ilir Shkala

Where: Tirane, Albania

When: 20 June 2011

Mr Ahmed Kalaja – Mufti of the main mosque in Tirana. Mr, Jonuz Kola, Executive director of Albanian Association of Assitance for Integration and Development (ALB-AID)  and Mr. Ilir Shkalla, the main organizer of this event and a representative of civil society, were the three panelists that took part in the  press conference held in Tirana International Hotel in the capital city of Albania. The event was organized in the framework of The Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence and the Arms Down! Campaign.

Five TV stations reported about the press conference in their main news programs and the event was broadcast live by Ora New TV. 4 major newspapers wrote about the conference.

Among the participants of the event were present children from areas of serious gun violence.

The panelist spoke about the big problem of gun usage in Albania, providing statistics on the number of incidents caused by arms in the last three years: only in 2011 there were  65 killed people killed by guns in Albania. The statistics included also the high number of illegal weapons possessed by the members of civil society in Albania. Huge quantity of arms in circulation, make an armed robbery a regular danger for anyone travelling across the country. Many young people have access to guns and like to test them.

The panelists, on behalf of international community and Albanian civil society, called on  the Albanian government to take action for decreasing the use of illegal weapons, enhancing  gun control policies, raising awareness of the general society about the problem, in order to stop the gun violence. Mufti Ahmed Kalaja called on the civil society in Albania to stop using guns and live in peace, solidarity and tolerance. The executive director of Albanian Association of Assitance for Integration and Development (ALB-AID) spoke about the work that the ALB-AID has been doing the last years for reducing gun violence and presented the ideas of organizing awareness campaigns. ALB-AID is a national NGO that serves the most marginalized, disadvantaged and excluded groups and individuals, who are victims of mines, SALW-Small Arms and Light Weapons , UXO’s, ERW, victims of trafficking, abuse, violence and discrimination (more on: http://www.alb-aid.org/.

The activity was organized owing to the grant from The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) and help from European Interfaith Youth Network, Religions for Peace.

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