Ambassador Qirjako Qirko
Albanian children are being bullied in British schools because of their identity, the country’s ambassador has said.
Qirjako Qirko spoke out after Albanians were singled out by ministers and the press during the recent Channel migrant crisis.
He called for an end to the “campaign of discrimination” and warned against “reinforcing negative stereotypes”.
His comments were a swipe at the UK government after home secretary Suella Braverman singled out “Albanian criminals” during a debate on the migrant crisis.
Her comments sparked the ire of the country’s prime minister Edi Rama who accused Braverman of “discriminating” against Albanians.
Ambassador Qirko told MPs on the home affairs committee: “I would like to take this opportunity to ask that this campaign of discrimination against Albanian citizens living here in the UK should stop.
“Especially in parts of the media which is involved in this wave of activity against my people living here.
“This kind of activity should stop as soon as possible because there are people especially youngsters who are bullied in their schools only because they are Albanians.”
Queen Elizabeth II with Ambassador of the Republic of Albania in the UK Qirjako Qirko in November 2016.
Qirko said everyone responsible for the activity should apologise to Albanians.
Earlier in the exchange he told MPs there were 140,000 first generation Albanian emigrants calling the UK home.
“Doctors, lawyers, engineers, labourers of all sorts, pay taxes and contribute to the British society,” he told them.
In another thinly veiled swipe, he added: “Any other different portrayal of Albanians in the UK is a demonstration of a lack of knowledge of this reality.
“Reinforcing negative stereotypes over a prolonged time fosters only discrimination and racism.”
It comes as Braverman is reportedly planning a blanket ban on anyone from a list of designated “safe” countries claiming asylum.
According to The Times, the home secretary is drawing up legislation to make it easier to reject and remove asylum seekers from Albania.
Under the proposed changes, claims would be automatically refused and remove a check officials are currently expected to carry out.
The move is designed to target Albanians after more than 12,000 arrived from the Balkan country via small boats this year - about a quarter of all Channel crossings.