HIMARA, Occupied Northern Greece – The Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama ceded by law land for free to “strategic investors”, signing on 21/11/2018 the No. of Decision 708 Council of Ministers. According to the document, 46 parcels at the southern coast of the country where the Greek minority resides, became property of the Ministry of Tourism aiming to make touristic use of it.
While the Law refers to them as state property, from the attached maps it is clear that there is violation of Greek private properties, according to Omonoia, the lead organization for the Greek community in southern Albania, which is known to the Greeks as occupied Northern Epirus. This is because Southern Albania is an extension of the Greek region of Epirus.
Omonoia explained that a total of 46 parcels of a total area of 1,614 hectares, 41 of these parcels of land accounting for an area of 1,377 hectares are located in the Municipality of Himara and 5 parcels of an area of 237 hectares are located in Avlona (Vlorë) and Eksamilia (Ksamil). The land that the Ministry of Tourism wants to seize and give away for free belongs to Greek and Christian Orthodox residents of the Municipality of Himara in a region historically known as Northern Epirus that is currently occupied by Albania.
To be more specific, according to Ministerial Decision as property of the Ministry of Tourism will be considered;
92.46 hectares in Drimades (and Gkilekates)
78.87 hectares in Vouno
62.77 hectares in Himara (among others 34.66 in Livadi, 4.97 in Potami, 2,76 in Filikouri)
60.1 hectares in Palermo
4.48 hectares in Pikerni
24.48 hectares in Lukovo
46.46 hectares in Agios Vasilis
99.3 hectares in Nivitsa
All parcels nationalized belong to legitimate owners according to certificates from the Albanian State Archives and titles issued in the 1990’s, but also titles that were given to gain votes from the Himatiotes in the 5 last years of Rama’s government.
Indicatively, two cases are pointed out, according to which the Albanian government in cooperation with the Town Hall was misleading and fooling the residents, as it is made clear by the following maps;
1. The land in which 4 properties were demolished in Gyalos area of Vouno village in September last year, includes land that passes the ownership to the Ministry of Tourism, while by decision of the City Council it was granted to the Balas family.
2. Before the 2017 parliamentary elections and because obviously the target was extra votes from 8 families in Kakomea, Nivitsa property titles were issued , without these titles being issued at the Land Registry. This parcel as well as the whole area are included in the land changing ownership according to the specific Ministerial decision.
While designing and carrying out this plan, which constitutes a blatant violation and encroachment of the rights and interests of the local people, the Albanian Prime Minister was negotiating to resolve this huge property issue with the Greek Government, the residents of the area, the Himariotes of USA, and of course gave empty promises to the European Union.
There is no longer a single doubt about the intentions of Rama’s Government regarding the properties of indigenous people of Greek origin in Himara; grabbing property, causing poverty and eventually removal from the lands of their ancestors.
This specific Ministerial Decision combined with the bill deposited at the Albanian Parliament is aiming to put an end to any claims by the residents’ side when it comes to the properties of their ancestors. This bill has in view that the agricultural area that was distributed for use to farmers and for which residents have submitted the needed documents to the Land Registry, in order to be vindicated so “there must be no illegal constructions in it” and so that “they shouldn’t be among the parcels of land that were classified as strategic investments under Law No. 55/2015”. It should be noted that for these specific areas the Albanian State has never issued building permits, making the illegitimate construction of buildings a one way street for the residents.
As a consequence of all the above, Omoniua says that we will inform the Albanian government and Prime minister Edi Rama that we will use every legal possible way to defend our rights, our interests and our properties, both within the country and abroad, through International Organizations and International Courts. We will immediately and thoroughly give feedback about the scandalous nature of Rama’s actions, both to the Greek Government and the International Community. Throughout our struggle, Himariotes from all over the world will be present. We, our legal struggle and our constant and persistent mobilizations, will be an obstacle in Edi Rama and his “partners’” plans to become rich instantly and illegally.