MISSION

Purpose:
CHRA is a non-profit human rights organization. Its purpose is the strengthening of friendship ties between the Americans and the Albanians in general, and between Americans and Cham people in particular, and the latter's human rights issues.

Primary Objective: is the recognition and advancement of the human rights of the Cham people as follows:

  • Right of Return The Main goal is the recognition and implementation of the right of Cham people to return to their homes in Greece and live there in peace and prosperity with their Greek brothers.

  • Property Rights Ensure the recognition and implementation of the right of Cham people expelled from Greece, and who have not been allowed to exercise quiet enjoyment of their homes, commercial buildings and real estate property in Northwestern Greece.

  • Other Legal Rights Aims at ensuring to the Cham people all other legal and minority rights deriving from the Greek Constitution and Laws, the Treaties and laws of the European Union, and other rights originating from international treaties and conventions to which Greece is a party.

Other Objectives are the conservation and propagation of the rich history, culture, language, traditions, customs, folklore, and other cultural aspects of the Cham people, considering this cultural heritage as a valuable asset for the world, and which is currently endangered and striving for survival.

Background:
Chameria is a region located in Northwestern Greece, in the province of Epirus, prefecture of Thesprotia. It has a size of approximately 10,000 square kilometers with a population of approximately 150,000. The name Chameria derives from the ancient river Thyami, present day Kallama. The population of Chameria called the Chams - was mostly Albanians of both Christian Orthodox and Moslem religion. Chams have a very rich cultural heritage, as expressed in their customary laws, oral traditions, songs, dances and costumes.

In 1913 Chameria was formally assigned to Greece. In 1923 the Chams were excluded from the 1923 Lausanne Treaty of Obligatory Exchange of population between Greece and Turkey, having been recognized as an ethnic Albanian minority. In 1944, tens of thousands of Moslem Chams were expelled from Greece against their wish and, consequently settled into Albania. They were constantly denied the right to return to Chameria despite the normalization of relations between Albania and Greece in 1987. They were subject to harsh persecution by the Albanian communist regime. Many American citizens and/or residents have arrived to these shores to escape persecution in both Greece and Albania.

Procedures:
CHRA Will pursue its goals solely through legitimate and peaceful means, in full compliance with the laws and statues of the U.S.A. In recognizing the delicate character of some of the goals, CHRA rejects any form of violence and hatred, and maintains at its cornerstone the spirit of real brotherhood with the Greek people.