October 20, 2011

AAOC 1st International Conference

We have the honor to inform you about the first international conference organized by the Albanian American Organization Chameria and Kean University’s Human Rights Institute held in New Jersey, USA on November 12, 2011 at Kean University. The theme of the conference is:

Chameria Issue: International Perspectives and Insights for a Peaceful Resolution

AAOC's First International Conference on Chameria
... Saturday, November 12, 2011

The post-WWII and post-Cold War period have been a period of ethnic conflict, which, amongst other things has manifested itself in the ways of wars and continuous tensions in Southeastern Europe. After Kosovo's independence, how has the continuous presence of Chameria issue affected the regional peace in the region, and what can be done to achieve a peaceful solution to the ethnic Albanians issue in the Balkans? Abstracts or paper drafts are welcomed on topics that are specific or relevant to the Chameria issue or other ethnic minorities in Greece, and Greek-Albanian relations in general. Detailed program information will be published soon.

All inquiries regarding conference details should be sent to: chameriaorganization@gmail.com.

For Questions and Directions you may contact AAOC administrators:
Endri Merxhushi at 1-973-449-7172
Sali Bollati at 1-347-268-4388

Special guest panelists will include Prof. James Pettifer from the UK, member of the Oxford University History Faculty & St Cross College and Stanley J. Seeger Research Fellow at Princeton University; Prof. Sali Bollati, and other international academics and representatives.

You are welcome to participate in this educational and cultural event where topics of ethnic conflict and justice will bring awareness to the American and Albanian people and the international arena

Admission to the event is free.

Kean University
University Center Theatre Hall
11 am - 2:00 pm.
1000 Morris Avenue
Union, New Jersey 07083

October 11, 2011


TO:                  UN Secretary General
                        President of the European Council 
                        N.A.T.O. Secretary General
                        O.S.C.E. Secretary General
                        U.S. State Department                                               
FROM:            Albanian American Organization Chameria
DATE:              October 11, 2011
RE:                  Greece’s Threats on Albania, also a NATO Member
DATE:              October 11, 2011
RE:                  Greece’s Threats on Albania, also a NATO Member

We as directors of the Albanian American Organization Chameria (AAOC), a non-profit organization incorporated and organized in the United States of America with much respect and firm trust in the implementation of international law in your previous actions, turn to you for an issue that especially concerns us, with the belief that only through you we can find a just and suitable solution to our human rights issue.

  Our organization as an N.G.O. always refers to established legislation by preserving the American and European democratic values as well as the traditions inherited from our forefathers’ birthplace, Chameria. Ethnic Albanian Chams presently reside in the Republic of Albania and elsewhere in the world. We originate from the Chameria region (currently northwestern Greece). AAOC operates in five U.S. states and we conduct educational and awareness raising activities to maintain and revive our ethnic Albanian culture, traditions and language.

  Our concerns arise from several recent provocative actions of the Greek political officials that challenge the territorial integrity of the Albanian State. More specifically, the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Greece are legally in a state of war which was proclaimed by Greece in 1940 as Law 2636/1940.[1]. After a decree was issued in 1987 to abolish this law, the Greek Parliament did not ratify it. To date this law has not been abolished by the Republic of Greece. 

  What is particularly significant to the Balkans peace is that both Greece and Albania are NATO members. Greece has joined NATO in 1951 and Albania has joined NATO in 2009. On the other hand, the Government of Greece continues to meddle in Albania’s internal affairs by raising expansionist claims against Albania’s sovereign territories in its political arenas and its educational system funded partly by European taxpayers’ money. 

  We have noted many Greek organizations in the U.S., Europe, Australia, along with the relevant ministries of the Republic of Greece raise deliberate claims for the territorial and maritime annexation of the southern part of the Republic of Albania. These actions are in conflict with the good, yet fragile neighborly relations between Albania and Greece. Furthermore, several Greek terrorist organizations as MAVI, add to the inter-regional provocations against Albanian territories without any reaction from Greek officials. Moreover, diplomatic representatives of the Greek state like Mr. Ikonomou, Consul of Greece, officially claim that the city of Korce in Albania is historically a Greek city and its citizens should be recorded as Greek and not as Albanian in the current census. For this purpose, similar officials also refer to South Albania as “Northern Epirus”.[2]  They refer to “Epirus” as a Greek region, at a time when this label belonged to a Roman administrative division dating 2.000 years ago. Epirus has been continuously inhabited by a majority of Albanians as many Greek and international historians will confirm this fact. Although the Greek state is maintained by the loaned funds of European taxpayers, it continues to pay special ‘pensions’ of over 300 Euros monthly to thousands of ethnic Albanian citizens on the condition they falsely declare themselves as ethnic Greeks. To add more fuel to the fire, the Greek parliamentary party LAOS recently officially declared by demanding that southern Albania be annexed to Greece.[3]

   Lately several incidents have occurred that are not only discriminatory but also illegal for the movement of Greek citizens of Albanian nationality. Although the European Council generously granted Albanian citizens the right to travel without visas within the Schengen area, Greek authorities have not allowed Albanian-born Greek citizens of Chameria, to enter freely there to see the graves and the lands of their ancestors. The Greek Consulate in Tirana has always denied issuing entry visas to Albanians born in Greece. These circumstances create a negative precedent for the preservation of territorial integrity in the region after Greece opens the way for conflict between two NATO members. 
  These issues make it impossible for us to remain indifferent, but to turn to you with more respect and trust to help these two countries stop these provocations that do not serve well to the European community. Ethnic Albanians of Chameria have suffered a brutal genocide, have been ethnically cleansed from their ancestral lands, and persecuted by the communist regime. Nevertheless, we still want to live in peace among the Greek people. That is why Albanians and Greeks as neighbors should peacefully solve legally inherited issues. We do not want to escalate to the point where scholars from the Center for Conflict Resolution Studies at the UK Ministry of Defense caution: "The Chams will soon have exhausted all channels to find a peaceful solution to their demands. Dialogue between Tirana, Athens, Cham representatives and international mediators to resolve the issue is urgently needed in order to avoid further straining relations between Albania and Greece, and risking the issue being hijacked by radicals.[4]
Finally, the republics of Albania and Greece deny the rights of 500.000 Chams living in both countries. We believe that peace and stability in the Balkans will be achieved if Greece effectively and completely puts an end to its dated nationalistic claims and revokes the 1940 legislation on the Status of War with Albania. We therefore kindly demand an appropriate solution to this issue through independent mediation.

Respectfully submitted, 
Albanian American Organization Chameria-AAOC

[1] Greek Kingdom Government Journal, Nr. 379, Date 10.11.1940, Law 2636.1940.