Letter: Albania's discrimination against its Greek minority

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The Independent Online
Sir: In asserting that there is little evidence of active discrimination against the Greek minority in Albania, your leading article ('The Greeks should know better', 21 July) displays an unfortunate ignorance of the religious and political restrictions imposed upon Albania's Greeks.

In its recent protest to the Albanian government, the World Council of Churches points out that the Orthodox Church in Albania is being subjected to constant harassment aimed at undermining its ability to safeguard the Greek minority's religious and ethnic consciousness. The expulsion of Archimandrite Chrysostomos, along with the Albanian government's refusal to allow newly appointed Greek orthodox bishops to take up their posts, indicate a level of discrimination beyond mere inter-ethnic 'suspicion'.

The benefits of recent demographic reforms have not been extended to Albania's Greeks. In the March 1992 elections, the Greek minority political party 'Omonia' was prohibited from fielding candidates.

At a time when Albania's irredentist aspirations in Kosovo threaten an 'ethnic cleansing' backlash against the Greek minority, it is unreasonable to accuse the Greek government of being provocative. Mr Mitsotakis' so-called 'inflammatory demands' amount to no more than a direction that the Albanian government abide by international human rights obligations in its treatment of ethnic Greeks.

Albania's acute poverty and past suffering, which your editorial was keen to highlight, constitute no excuse for the violation of basic human rights.

Yours faithfully,


London, WC1

22 July