The Federal Statistics Office is preparing a Census that was supposed to be carried out in 2001 and was postponed for this year. The citizens have already received Questionnaires for people working in companies, institutions, cooperatives and organizations in social, private, cooperative, mixed or state ownership. Responses by citizens reveal that they are uninformed about the preparation of the Census, and in multiethnic communities unnecessary disturbances have occurred.
We point to the Federal Government and the Federal Statistics Office several facts which they failed to take into account:
– Recently, on 14 March, agreement was signed on the future relations between Serbia and Montenegro, which undoubtedly brings changes in the manner and content of the work of federal bodies, as well as the Government and the Statistics Office
– The Census can be organized only in the territory of Central Serbia and Vojvodina. It is a well-known fact that the federal authorities did not, until 14 March, exercise power over the territory of Montenegro, and it is certain that if they try to carry out the Census, this would jeopardize the stabilization process and relations between Serbia and Montenegro. Also, federal bodies cannot carry out the Census in Kosovo, which is under a temporary international protectorate,
– Numerous warnings on the frailty of inter-ethnic relations in Serbia were not heeded, and that any insufficiently prepared action, such as the Census, could cause new misunderstandings, tensions and conflicts,
– Warnings coming from professional circles on the necessity to properly prepare the Census, both politically and professionally, were also ignored. Proper preparation means cooperation with international, primarily European institutions, on the organization of Census in the entire territory of the former FRY, but also Bosnia and Herzegovina, if possible, as well as the exchange of data with Croatia. This is the only way to get a full picture and the overall demographic and ethnic data of the last twenty years since there were no regular censuses in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
– Finally, federal bodies have no authority to spend high resources on an activity that is certain not to deliver positive results that would justify such expenditures.