President Festim Lato Meets War and Genocide Expert

On 25 June 2018 the Republic of Chameria president Festim Lato had a meeting with Dr. Somers, the manager of the Dutch institute on war documentation and genocide studies (NIOD), to request support for activities to make the genocide against the Cham in 1944 better known internationally.

NIOD is a very well respected and internationally oriented institution that documents and studies World War II with the main emphasis on the occupation of the Netherlands, as well as contemporary wars and genocides committed in other regions.

The genocide committed against the Cham people in 1944, when many were killed and almost the entire Cham population had to flee their homeland and seek refuge in Albania, was recognised by the Albanian government in 1994 who made 27 June The Day of Greek Chauvinist Genocide Against the Albanians of Chameria. However, the international community has not recognised this genocide and little is known about the historical injustice that befell the Cham people between 1913 and 1944. President Festim Lato is actively trying to make this part of history more known. One way in which the government of the Republic of Chameria is doing this is by organising several events in European capitals which will present the history of Chameria in an accessible form to the general public as well as to policy makers.

In 2019, the genocide will be 75 years ago and in the run up to the most important dates, several smaller conferences will be held accross Europe. On 25 March 1944, the Jews from Janina, the biggest city in Chameria, were rounded up by the Nazi’s and transported to the camps from which only a very small number returned. Several months later the Greek forces in Chameria violently attacked the Cham-Albanian citizens of Chameria and cleansed the area of its native population. These events will be extensively covered in the conferences that will be held in 2019.

Furthermore, the president of the Republic of Chameria, Festim Lato, is preparing a travelling photo exhibition that will contain pictures from private collectors who have photographic evidence of the history of Chameria and of the genocide in 1944. The travelling photo exhibition will go on a tour through the European capitals and the USA.

President Festim Lato is hopeful that in cooperation with the Dutch genocide studies institute and other similar organisations in European countries, the history of the Cham people and the genocide will get its rightful place in the hearts and minds of the international community. The events that will be organised by the Republic of Chameria in cooperation with these institutions will contribute greatly to this greater awareness.

Ali Aliu (prime minister), Erik Somers (NIOD), Festim Lato (president)

Jeroen Zandberg, Erik Somers (NIOD), Festim Lato (president)

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