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Chameria President Festim Lato Meets Commissioner Johannes Hahn

On 14 December 2017 Chameria president Festim Lato was in Brussels to attend several seminars and meetings with EU officials and politicians relating to the social and economic development of the Balkan and Mediterranean region. During these meetings the Chamerian president presented the case of Chameria to a receptive audience. Especially those who had not heard of the Cham people and the many human rights violations committed against them, were eager to learn more about the issue.

Someone who definitely knows the Cham issue and is aware of the political sensitivity that it has in Greece is European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Johannes Hahn. Following a request from Greek MEP Maria Spyraki to Commissioner Johannes Hahn back in September 2016 about supposed irredentism by Albania, the latter responded in a way that touched upon a taboo in Greek politics, namely the existence of the unresolved human rights issue of the Cham people. Commissioner Hahn replied that the existing Cham issue is a matter that needs to be resolved between the two countries involved, Albania and Greece. Commissioner Hahn: “The Commission welcomed the fact that both countries are discussing the establishment of a joint mechanism to be convened periodically for the resolution of the outstanding bilateral issues. This includes … the rights of persons belonging to minorities and the Cham issue.”

The Greek government replied as stung by a wasp: “As we know, the Cham issue does not exist and therefore has never been accepted as negotiated between the Greek and Albanian governments,” … “Commissioner Hahn with his false answer shows that he is not exercising his role and functions under the principle of impartiality to promote the common interests of the Union.”

On 14 December 2017 Chameria president Festim Lato had a meeting with Commissioner Johannes Hahn in the capital of Europe, Brussels. It was a very important occasion to let the voice of the Cham community be heard again in the halls of Brussels.

Chameria president Festim Lato presented a file on the present situation of the Cham people and explained the current and planned activities to get the most pressing Cham issues tackled, namely the recognition of the genocide against the Cham people and the return of properties that were taken by the Greek government after the expulsion of the Cham people. The many diplomatic and political activities that the Republic of Chameria, in cooperation with many politicians and diplomats,  has planned in the coming weeks and months will certainly provide more forward momentum to get justice for the Cham victims. The Commissioner recognized the fact that the Cham issue is still a very hot topic. It is an issue that needs to be resolved.

The European project stands for human rights, justice and solidarity. The Cham people are true Europeans and place their faith on the dreams and aspirations of a Europe united through shared and universal values. It provides great motivation to know that history is on the side of the Cham people and that the main political powers in Europe recognize this fact.

A news item about the meeting as shown on Albanian television on 14 December 2017: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1607800499277779&id=911311405593362

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