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news 31 Oct 13

Bosniaks Claim To Be 54 Per Cent in Bosnia

Bosniak organizations say their unofficial information from the census is that Bosniaks now comprise 54 per cent of the population - well up from 43 per cent in 1991.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Unofficial data on the results of the October census in Bosnia given by some Bosniak organizations is that Bosniaks, or Muslims, make up 54 per cent of the overall population of around 3.8 million.

In Bosnia's last 1991 census, Bosnia had a population of 4.4 million, of whom 43.47 per cent were Muslims.

Sejfudin Tokic, head of the Bosniak Movement for Equality of Peoples, who also participated in the campaign “It is important to be Bosniak", said the claim is based on data obtained from activists of the campaign in the field.

He added that Bosniaks also make up about 17 per cent of the population in Bosnia's mainly Serbian entity, Republika Srpska.

Tokic said that the results, if confirmed by the Statistics Agency, will have far-reaching consequences for the country.

He also claimed that not all Bosniaks were enumerated in the head count as they faced various obstructions, especially in Republika Srpska.

The Statistics Agency told Balkan Insight that the process of checking and preparing the preliminary results was still in progress.

It said the results are likely to be published before the legal deadline of three months from October 15, when the interviewing process ended.

Bosnia has not had a census for the past 22 years, which included the 1992-95 war when hundreds of thousands were either killed, reported missing, internally displaced or fled the country.

Darko Brkan, head of the Coalition for Equality, which had urged citizens to declare themselves Bosnians and Herzegovinians in the census, and not affiliate with any particular ethnic identity, said claims like Tokic's only proved the census was a set-up.

“Everyone who claims he has access to those data, which is what the politicians have also done, has to have broken the law to get to them, so the statistics agencies have to be questioned on that,” he said.

“This confirms our claim that the whole census, especially concerning the ethnic questions, was completely compromised,” Brkan said.

His Coalition for Equality believes around 20 per cent of citizens did not declare themselves members of one of the three main ethnic groups.

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