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Press Release: Demand Release of Cham Activists

On behalf of the Republic of Chameria and all the Cham people I wish to inform you about the unlawful arrests of Cham activists by the Albanian police.

This night (Friday 13 July 2018) six Cham activists were arrested while driving from Sarande to the city of Verve, Albania. The Albanian police took the activists to the station in Sarande where they are still confined without them having committed a criminal offence.

The Cham activists are part of a large number of Cham who will attend a ceremony on 14 July 2018 to celebrate the opening of the Cham House of Peace and the start of the construction of the long road to Chameria. This event will be a major milestone for the Cham people and will be attended by thousands of people.

The Cham are a people who historically lived in northwestern Greece and southern Albania but who were killed and driven out during World War II. The Republic of Chameria is trying to bring the Cham issue on the political agenda and to open a dialogue between Greece, Albania, the EU and Chameria to put the rights of the Cham on the agenda. The Cham suffer from discrimination by the Albanian government who wants to silence the Cham people and their legitimate claims for more recognition in order for Albania to enter the EU without opposition. The negotiations between Albania and Greece to solve their disputes should take the human rights and interests of the Cham people into account. It is therefore not acceptable to change the maritime borders and agree to silence the Cham issue.

I plead for the immediate and unconditional release of the six arrested Cham activists and the end of discrimination by the Albanian government of the Cham people.

Sincerely,

Festim Lato

President of the Republic of Chameria

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