The failure to properly implement the cash handouts scheme is seriously violating the right to life of women and children in Albania

Tirana, October 4, 2018 - CRCA Albania, through this public statement, would like to bring to the attention of all Mayors, City Councils and the Government of Albania, our serious concerns on the failure to properly implement the Law "On Assistance and Social Services" from social services departments in Albania.

CRCA’s Legal Office often receives cases of expulsion from the cash handouts scheme from families in need. However, the latest cases that we are representing, expulsion of mothers with many children or single mothers, are showing to us that the implementation of the new cash handouts scheme and the obligations required from the families seeking help are often not attainable. If the set criteria are not met, it results in automatically being expelled from the scheme.

The latest cases we are defending are related to two mothers who were expelled from the cash handouts scheme few weeks ago, leaving them without any financial support. This is putting at serious risk the lives of their children. The first case is of a mother with 6 children including a 3-month baby. The second is a family with 7 children whose mother has serious visual problems.

In both of these cases, none of the families received a notice in writing for their expulsion from the scheme, in the form required by the law. Furthermore, none of the mothers was informed on their right to appeal the decisions and as a result all the deadlines were passed and for the next 6 months, they cannot receive any cash handouts from the scheme. All of these legal violations, in our opinion, show a lack of humanity from those who took the decisions. Today 13 children and their mothers have no food! What is even more shocking is that that the living conditions of both mothers are so severe that it is very difficult to come to terms and understand what could have been the legal and human logic that was followed for their expulsion from the scheme.

Based on the facts, CRCA Albania asks the following:

  • The administration of Social Services shall make sure to provide every person expelled from the cash handout scheme with a written notification including the grounds and reasons of such decision;
  • The administration of Social Services shall rigorously observe Article 41 of the Law on Social Assistance and Services, which guarantees the right of appeal to every family excluded from the scheme;
  • The General Administration of State Social Services, as the highest enforcement institution, should consider auditing and reviewing all the decisions of social administrators at the municipal administrative units, to eliminate any injustices that may have happened so far;
  • The Albanian Government, all the Mayors and Municipal Councils in Albania should review and re-evaluate the implementation of the cash handouts scheme in order to eliminate any punitive actions against some of the poorest families in Albania that violate the right to life of child and women;

There are 80,964 families benefiting from economic assistance in Albania. The average monthly fund per family, for the year 2017, was 4.211 lek (less than 40 US$), which is almost negligible for a family living in severe economic conditions. Everyone needs to remember that families who benefit from the cash handouts are those with no income or have insufficient income, orphans, victims of trafficking and domestic violence, children placed in custody as well as for parents with more than three children etc.