news 06 Dec 12

Opposition Party Disputes Bosnia Census Questions

The opposition Nasa Stranka party has complained to the State Statistics Agency about the census questions concerning nationality or ethnicity, religion and mother tongue.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Nasa Stranka [Our Party] a small left-wing party, has complained to Bosnia's State Statistics Agency, urging it to change the question in the April 2013 headcount regarding nationality and ethnicity.

In its complaint on December 5, the party said the legal usage of the terms in the question was incorrect and that the question was not clear.

Nasa Stranka head Dennis Gratz said people terming themselves Bosnians and Herzegovinians should be named as a constituent category alongside Bosniaks, Serbs, Croats and others.

The questionnaire that is to be used in the census contains one question concerning "nationality/ethnicity". In terms of both ethnicity and nationality, citizens must declare themselves as Bosniak, Serbian or Croatian, or “Other”.

“Such formulation does not follow the practice of Convention of European Statistics, which says that data about ethnic origins should not be mixed with data on the country of citizenship or place of birth,” Gratz said.

“Questions asked in this way are not only not in compliance with the law and European standards but have serious political implications which in an indirect way questions the existence of identity and legal subjectivity of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Gratz added.

A group of non-governmental organizations in Bosnia has started a campaign to get the Statistics Agency to change the questionnaire to what they say matches the criteria of European censuses.


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