RESOLUTION OF THE HIMARRIOTON SOCIETY OF AMERICA AT ITS FIRST SYMPOSIUM ON THE FUTURE OF HIMARA
Whereas driven by their love of Himara and their pride and honor in the history of their homeland and their people, a broad cross section of concerned citizens from Albania, Greece and the United States have gathered in Annapolis, Md on the occasion of The Himarrioton Society of America's first Symposium on the future of Himara,
Whereas the Republic of Albania has made strides in the last 25 years towards democracy and integration into the community of nations, the citizens of Himara continue to be denied the exercise of their full human rights as defined by the Albanian Constitution, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other bilateral and international agreements to which the country is a party,
Whereas successive Albanian administrations, and the current one in particular, have carried out a series of escalating actions to circumscribe the rights of the citizens of Himara, marginalize the native populace, and attempt to sever their connection to their ancestral homeland by denying them ownership of their ancestral family properties,
Whereas the Orthodox Church is arbitrarily targeted via the destruction of the church of Agios Thanasios, and church property in Himara confiscated by the former communist regime is not returned,
Whereas United States citizens of Himarriotan descent are denied the right to ownership of their properties that had been in their families for generations,
Whereas government authorities facilitate for their benefit the illegal appropriation of valuable land rightfully belonging to the populace of Himara, in an area marked for touristic development,
Whereas (1) the territorial reform of 2014 and its disenfranchisement of the local populace, (2) the manipulation of local elections, (3) the 2015 tourist law allowing for arbitrary property appropriation, (4) government targeted destruction of business structures, (5) intimidation and co-opting of the populace, (6) official distortion of Himara's history and culture, (7) lack of serious development funds allocation, (8) lack of any rights to property ownership for Himarriotans, (9) demographic alteration via government distribution of property rights to non-Himarriotans, and (10) lack of due process and recourse to an impartial judicial system; are all emblematic of the systemic efforts to marginalize Himarriotans, and deprive them of their full measure of basic human rights.
RESOLVED: THE HIMARRIOTON SOCIETY OF AMERICA AT ITS FIRST SYMPOSIUM ON THE FUTURE OF HIMARA, CALLS FOR:
· The use of all legal, peaceful and democratic means to advance the realization of the full human rights and freedoms due the people of Himara, be they of Greek or Albanian ethnic descent.
· The cooperation with any Albanian political parties, national governments, and international organizations that support and respect the full human rights due the people of Himara.
· Continued praise and support for the United States' and Ambassador Donald Lu's work toward the full democratization of Albania, including efforts to reform the judicial system.
· Full implementation of the 'decriminalization' law as soon as possible in all state institutions.
· The creation of conditions for free and fair elections at the national and local levels.
· The establishment of a bilingual Greek / Albanian language high school in Himara based on fundamental requirements of the Greek minority and the Albanian government.
· The cessation of Albanian government authorities' actions to appropriate Himara's land and alter the demographics of its populace.
· The restoration of property ownership and adoption of legislation to that effect in accordance with the Albanian Constitution and international conventions. Specifically in Himara, that all ancestral family properties, Orthodox church properties and communal village properties that had been confiscated by the prior communist regime to be returned to their rightful owners, including affected US citizens.
· The protection of the Orthodox Churches of Himara by the Albanian government and the allocation of funds to rebuild Agios Thanasios on its original site.
· Support for the Republic of Albania's European Union accession conditional upon the delivery of quality reforms in the key areas identified by the European Council, including those of rule of law, corruption and fundamental rights.