Press Release

Upholding Human Dignity: Advocating for human rights of LGBTIQ+ people on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

17 May 2024

A joint message by the UN and EU Delegation in Albania

On May 17th each year, the world commemorates the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. This day serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals in Albania and worldwide. Core to the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda, with its goals for 2030, is the principle of leaving no one behind. Translating this promise into tangible realities for individuals, especially those in the LGBTIQ+ community, is an important challenge and there is still much work to be done. 

Albania has made considerable progress in the legal framework for protection from discrimination. Albania has a national action plan for the LGBTIQ+ community for the period 2021–2027. Yet despite significant legal strides against discrimination, LGBTIQ+ individuals in Albania continue to face pervasive challenges and marginalization in multiple ways. More needs to be done to achieve full equality, both in law and in practice.

LGBTIQ+ people in Albania share stories of violence, hostility, and a lack of support, both within their families and in broader society. Shocking statistics reveal alarming levels of intolerance among Albanian youth, with a substantial portion expressing reluctance to accept LGBTIQ+ individuals in their schools. Moreover, a concerning majority of people from the LGBTIQ+ community report experiencing psychological violence, perpetuating a cycle of fear and discrimination.

In the workplace, discrimination against LGBTIQ+ individuals remains prevalent, with few businesses implementing inclusive policies or facilitating their employment. This systemic discrimination not only violates fundamental human rights but also hampers societal progress and development.

Efforts to combat this inequality require a multifaceted approach, including improved education, increased public awareness, and ensuring support for those advocating against discriminatory laws.

Families have a crucial role in shaping societal attitudes towards the LGBTIQ+ community, serving as the primary educators of children in matters of tolerance and respect. Children are not born with prejudice; rather, they learn it from the adults around them. By fostering a culture of acceptance and love within Albanian households, families can contribute significantly to creating a more inclusive and compassionate society. It is imperative to promote family acceptance of LGBTIQ+ children and young people by equipping parents with the necessary information and support.

The European Union and United Nations agencies in Albania have supported governmental and oversight institutions to address discrimination against LGBTIQ+ individuals. Through partnerships with civil society organizations, significant progress has been made in promoting respect, tolerance, and diversity.

A partnership with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights led to the implementation of the Free and Equal campaign in Albania. The campaign's essence—led by UNDP—is summarized in a powerful message: LGBTIQ+ rights are human rights. By engaging with the media, training journalists, as well as businesses, and challenging stereotypes, the campaign aims to reshape public narratives and foster a culture of acceptance and respect. 

Diversity and inclusion  are not only fundamental human rights but also core values of the European Union. The EU will continue to lead by example, building a Union of Equality, and amplifying the voices of those who defend and promote human rights through the #PrideHeroes campaign. As Albania aspires to become a member of the EU where discrimination on any grounds is prohibited, the country has to demonstrate its commitment to upholding these values by taking concrete actions to address discrimination against LGBTIQ+ individuals. The forthcoming visit to Albania of the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (IE SOGI), is a good opportunity to hear from the community and advance in the realization of human rights for all in the country.

By aligning with EU’s legal protections against discrimination and promoting equality for all citizens, Albania can progress towards its goal of EU membership while fostering a more inclusive and harmonious society.

Achieving change requires collective action from all sectors of society. By challenging prejudice, fostering empathy, and promoting diversity, we can build a future where every individual is valued and free to live authentically.

We call on society not to be silent in the face of discrimination; instead, create an environment free from harassment based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

The fight for human rights of LGBTIQ+ persons is a fundamental struggle for human dignity and equality. We reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rights and dignity of all members of the LGBTIQ+ community, today and every day.


Fiona McCluney

UN Resident Coordinator to Albania


Silvio Gonzato

EUD Ambassador to Albania


UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Resident Coordinator Office

Goals we are supporting through this initiative