First census ever in Bosnia starts Oct 1

The first ever census in Bosnia and Herzegovina will start early Tuesday morning, results of first census for over twenty years will reveal ethnic makeup of the Balkan country for first time since war

First census ever in Bosnia starts Oct 1

World Bulletin/News Desk

Bosnia, where the last census was held was 22 years ago when Bosnia and Herzegovina was still part of Yugoslavia, will hold its first census as an independent country on Tuesday.

The country has a complicated power-sharing system set in place by the 1995 peace agreement, which defines three ethnic groups – Serbs, Croats and Bosniak (Bosnian Muslims) – as a constituent peoples' splitting power between them. People who do not declare as members of one of these groups are excluded from the public sector jobs.

"Since 1991 and the last census, Bosnia changed a lot with the war and everything that happened after. Many people were killed during the war, many left the places they used to live. And this census will give a picture about the country today, demographic  economic, and social picture about is population,“ Hilmo Neimarlija, president of the Foundation for Census 2013 claims.

Bosnian political and religious leaders are urging their constituents to declare their ethnicity and faith as a matter of national duty. Over the last couple of months, the census has stirred tensions in Bosnia.

Unlike in some other countries, in Bosnia the census, which will cost 23 million Euros, has a deeper political significance.

“This is the country of three constituent people, and the results of the census will determine how they will be politically represented in the future, but will also organize some other rights.“

An important aspect is census of the people from Bosnia who are living abroad.

"It is a huge challenge to have even Bosnian diaspora participate in the census. It is very delicate and sensitive. That is we need to have as many people from diaspora coming to Bosnia in the next 15 days and taking part in census,“ Neimarlija concludes.

 Bosnian citizens, a day before the census, have many questions about the procedure.

Jasmin Ibrahimovic, in Sarajevo, is not sure how to answer some of the questions, especially the one related to the nationality.

"With all this, I am not sure how to declare my self,  Am I Bosnian, Herzegovinian, Muslim, Serb, Orthodox?“ Ibrahimovic asks.

The last census was in 1991, 43.5 percent of people declared themselves Muslims, 31.2 percent as Serbs and 17.4 percent as Croats. Over five percent said they were Yugoslav.

At that time Bosnia had a population of 4 million.

You can read Elif Zaim's analysis on this census here

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Eylül 2013, 14:26

Muhammed Öylek

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