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KEY ISSUES

Chameria is the southernmost part of Albania.  Chameria is a a region of the southwestern Balkan Peninsula that now straddles the Greek-Albanian border. In 1913, its largest part was occupied by Greece, leaving a small territory within today’s Albanian border. Ever since 1913, the rights of the Albanian Cham minority in Greece imparted and dictated by the international and European legislative bodies were denied and suppressed. The eventual pressure on the Albanian element in Greece lead to the harsh genocide of the years 1944-1945 and the violent expulsion of over 35,000 ethnic Albanian Chams to Albania.

Main Positions

  1. The Greek government should recognize and issue a public apology regarding the brutal Genocide conducted by Greek Army forces of Napoleon Zervas in 1944.
  2.  Cham Albanians should enjoy basic human rights that originate from international treaties and conventions to which Greece is a signatory party.
  3.  Albanian Americans of Cham descent should enjoy the same rights as every U.S. citizen.
  4. Albanians of Greece should be allowed to open Albanian schools in Greece and speak Albanian freely without government interference.
  5. Cham Albanians should be allowed to register and reclaim their properties in Greece without any government impediments.
  6. The Greek Law of War 2636/1940 declaring Albania as an enemy should be abolished immediately as both countries are NATO members. 

 

Chameria Region

Most of Chameria is in today’s Greek Province of Epirus, corresponding largely to the prefectures of Thesprotia, Janina and Preveza, but it also includes the southern-most part of Albania, the area around Konispol. It is approximately 10,000 square kilometers in size and has a current, mostly Greek-speaking population of about 150,000. The core or central region of Chameria, known in Greek as Thesprotia, could be said to be the basins of the Kalama and Acheron Rivers. It was the Kalama River, known in ancient times as the Thyamis, that gave Chameria its name.

The Chams, known in Greek as Tsamides, are no other than Albanians living in the extreme southern part of Albanian-speaking territory. Among their traditional settlements in the now relatively sparsely inhabited region of Chameria were Gumenica/Igoumenitsa, Filat/Filiates, Paramithia/Paramythia, Parga and Margëlliç/Margariti and, in particular, many smaller villages that were abandoned and are in ruins and presently covered in vegetation. There exist Cham settlements sporadically southwards as far as Preveza.

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