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North Macedonia

Northern Macedonia: Registration boycotters to face up to 5 years in prison

Jasmina Gjorgieva from the State Statistics Service closed the remarks that the census participation campaign is aimed at an ethnic community, as such claims may shape public attitudes. She said the main channel of communication was social media and contacts with Greek and international organizations, although she stressed that some of them refused to cooperate in the census. She announced a big virtual discussion these days in which everyone will participate and be able to ask questions about the dilemmas they face regarding statistical analysis.

In response to the census, she said numbers in the United States, Canada and Australia have begun to rise, in addition to those in Switzerland, Germany and Italy and other developing countries. According to the latest figures, 5,110 immigrants have been registered so far in the United States, 1,682 in Australia and 1,215 in Canada, while in Switzerland the number has exceeded 40,000.

Regarding the responsibility of those calling for a boycott, Gjorgieva said that this is an issue that falls under the jurisdiction of other institutions. In case of such refusals, she stressed, the legal provisions of the inventory law will be applied.

“A boycott is not an option because it is an extremely important function. It is a civil obligation and is mandatory. “The boycott is also a crime, so any call for a boycott is subject to the law and the institutions will implement it in such a case,” said government spokesman Dusko Arsovski.

He stressed that the legal basis for sentencing, including imprisonment, is the act of “organizing resistance and disobedience to the lawful measures of a state body” by the Criminal Code, however he claimed that the intention was not to do so. He stressed that the sentences range from fines to three years in prison, while the instigator who organized the boycott will face up to five years in prison.

The ruling SDSM party also responded with a statement urging citizens and immigrants to understand registration as a civic obligation.

“Registration is the most important state project and that is why it is very important for all citizens to participate in it. By participating in the census, each individual contributes to building a state based on data rather than assumptions. Inventory is a civil liability defined by law. Participation in the census is mandatory and is the responsibility of every citizen to the state.

At the same time, the process of counting the non-resident population of the country, such as migrants and the diaspora, is underway. So far, 137,111 citizens of Northern Macedonia have registered abroad through the online application and the self-inventory process will last until April 21st. It is welcome that interest in the diaspora registration process is growing and we expect this trend to continue in the future. Our entire diaspora, from around the world, should participate in this patriotic act and help create a clear panorama of our people abroad.

Attempts to boycott, to undermine the registration are not only illegal, but also against the state. The demand for boycott and postponement of the census, which we often hear from the political parties VMRO-DPMNE and the Left, calls for the cessation of the census. These are anti-state behaviors that do not bring any good, create confusion among citizens and cause serious damage to the state. Boycotting the census is a crime.

It is time to show maturity, responsibility and join the world. Let us not be a dark hole in the statistical map and, after 19 years, let us conduct a census according to all international standards. “Each of us is more than a number, each of us must take part in the census,” SDSM said in a statement.

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