charcoal on paper
11" x 14"
$300 (framed or unframed)
Prisoner of Conscience/Refugee
Gjergj Komnino spent 25 years in
an Albanian prison for "anti-Communist crimes" before
fleeing to Italy to seek asylum. He died in 1996, at the age of
76, while awaiting a decision on his claim. The Universal Declaration
of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to seek
and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution".
However, the general right to seek and to enjoy asylum has not
always translated into the individual right to be granted asylum.
Many states have continually exhibited an unwillingness to agree
to international edicts that would impose responsibility in asylum
situations. While some individuals may be sent immediately back
to the persecution they fled, other may be kept waiting in uncertainty
for years until a decision is made. In 1997, the Italian Government
forcibly returned almost 300 asylum-seekers to Albania, despite
severe political and social unrest in that country, and imposed
60-day residency limits on those it harbored. During his own wait
for asylum, Gjergj Komnino wrote this poem:
Who breaks an important promise
Who does not keep his word
He also breaks his consciousness
And breaks his happiness.
All images on this site are copyright © 2008 by Tom Block Arts.
Please contact the artist for use of these images.