Decision on census results triggered new dispute in BiH

Decision on census results triggered new dispute in BiH

Banja Luka, May 19, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

The census in BiH continues to be an issue, having caused a lot of conflicts, with the latest incident triggered by the decision on the methodology for the publication of the results, which was made by manager of BiH Statistical Agency, Velimir Jukic, and which made RS authorities more than angry and triggered the new dispute in divided country.

The biggest problem on the publication of the census results is the almost 200 000 BiH citizens who have an address in BiH but, who in fact, live abroad. Bosniak experts think that these persons must be registered as residents, but RS experts opposed that opinion and demand to exclude them from the results. The RS explained this claim with the fact that the majority of these persons are Bosniaks and, if they will be included in census results, the number of Bosniaks in BiH would be bigger than 50 percent, which, de facto, is not the true. After many weeks of discussions, BiH Statistical Agency members didn’t agree on this issue, with Jukic deciding to order the publishing of the results, which will include disputable questionnaires in the number of residents, despite the objection from RS.

Director of RS Statistical Agency, which is the member of state Agency, Radmila Cickovic, said on Jukic’s decision that it is not in accordance with Law on Census in BiH, and therefore it is not acceptable for RS.

“Director of the BiH Statistics Agency Velimir Jukic passed a decision on a single programme for BiH census data processing, which will qualify 196,000 disputable population questionnaires as residents, without the consent of the members of the BiH Central Census Bureau”, Cickovic said.

She added that the BiH Statistical Agency didn’t agree with this decision and that it is the independent decision of Velimir Jukic. His decision caused the dissatisfaction of the Serb members in BiH Council of Ministers. Mirko Sarovic, Council deputy of Chairman, said that the Council did not received a request to review the population census issue, thus he assumes that this will be the focus in the coming days.

“Deputy of the Agency Director from Serb people, Miljan Popic, has reacted and put this director’s decision into question, as it was pointed that the decision was not in accordance with the applicable law. It is highly important to wait and see the reactions of the Federation BiH Statistics Institute, which is one of three key factors”, Sarovic stated.

Popic, in his statement, expressed his disagreement with the decision on a single programme for census data processing.

“In this way, we will obtain inaccurate data that will not comply with the Law on Population Census held in 2013”, Popic warned.

Politicians in Federation BiH are satisfied with Jukic’s decision, but RS side is disappointed with it. RS PM, Zeljka Cvijanovic, said that some of the results are out of any logic because 20 or 30 citizens are registered at an address in one small household in some villages. She added that she will inform the members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs /AFET/ of the fact that the entities didn’t give their approval for the methodology for the 2013 population census data processing, stressing that the RS institutions will take a stance on this issue.