New Organization, ADA, Forms to Promote Democracy in Albania

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A group of Albanians in the United States and Canada announced today the formation of Albanians for a Democratic Albania (ADA), a new organization dedicated to fighting for political freedom and establishment of the rule of law in the Balkan state.

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A group of Albanians in the United States and Canada announced today the formation of Albanians for a Democratic Albania (ADA), a new organization dedicated to fighting for political freedom and establishment of the rule of law in the Balkan state.

In a statement issued at its headquarters in New York, the group expressed deep concern with the current state of affairs in the country where “all of the pillars of democratic institutions have been compromised. Few media outlets dare criticize the government. And rule of law is little more than a catch phrase, as the government manipulates judges at will,” the statement said.

The establishment of ADA coincides with the 100th anniversary of Albania’s declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire. "While the country remains independent, political freedom is in jeopardy," the ADA statement said.

“Investigations into corrupt practices of senior government officials have been thwarted every step of the way,” the statement continued. “No election has been free and fair, and the illegal voting and manipulation of ballets during the 2011 elections were no exception.”

Gary Q. Kokalari, ADA’s founder and a well-known Albanian American activist, called upon Albanians throughout the world “to join us to help bring true democracy to Albania.

“In Albania, democracy exists in name only, and what’s been substituted for democracy is heading in the wrong direction,” Kokalari said. “Fraudulent elections, intimidation of the media, disregard for the rule of law and corruption at the highest levels of government are robbing Albanians of the freedom they deserve,” he said.

“After enduring five decades of brutal communist oppression and a series of corrupt, authoritarian post-communist regimes, Albanians are ready for change,” he said. “ADA is open for business, and we are dedicated to advancing democracy in Albania.”

ADA will work to protect and strengthen democratic institutions in the Republic of Albania for the betterment of the Albanian people, adding it will function independently of all Albanian political factions, according to the statement.

“ADA will support and defend Albania’s democratic institutions by using methods available to advocacy groups in civil society including informing and advising policy makers about developments in Albania,” it said.

“ADA will also sponsor educational forums to address issues pertaining to Albania’s democratic institutions. The organization will work with other NGOs and advocacy groups in areas of mutual concern,” the statement concluded.

Upon learning of the inauguration of ADA, William E. Ryerson, the first American Ambassador to serve in Albania after the fall of communism, commented, “It is welcome news that a group of Albanians has started a new organization dedicated to the further development of democracy in Albania. All democracies – and I include the U.S. here – have flaws that need work.”

Commenting on ADA’s goals, Ambassador Ryerson recalled the statement by the late Harry Barnes when he presented his credentials as the new U.S. Ambassador to Chile to then-President Pinochet: ‘The cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.’ Ambassador Ryerson closed his comments by wishing ADA and its members much success in their efforts.

ADA is the only not-for-profit organization dedicated solely to the advancement of democracy in Albania.

Albanians for a Democratic Albania
New York, NY
Telephone: 646-397-6570
Email: info(at)adausa(dot)org
Website: http://www.adausa.org

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Gary Kokalari
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