Czech census: Online form will be in Romanes too, listing nationality is important
Representatives of national minorities in the Czech Republic will soon be receiving instructions about this year's census. The instructions will be delivered to minority organizations for redistribution to their members.
This year the online census form will be published in seven languages besides Czech. It will also be possible to obtain translations in those languages to accompany the paper forms, which will be in Czech.
This information comes from the material that is currently being drafted for minority organizations. The census will be held from 27 March until 11 May.
During the last census in the Czech Republic 10 years ago, roughly 147 200 people stated that they belonged to the Slovak national minority, 5 100 stated they belonged to the Romani national minority, 39 100 stated they belonged to the Polish national minority, 29 600 people stated they belonged to the Vietnamese national minority and 53 300 people stated they belonged to the Ukrainian national minority. More than 2.6 million people listed no nationality at all.
WHAT IS A NATIONAL MINORITY?
A national minority is any community of citizens of the Czech Republic living on the current territory of the Czech Republic who, as a general rule, differ from the rest of the citizenry due to their common ethnic origin, language, culture and traditions; who comprise a numerous minority in the population; and who also demonstrate their will to be considered a national minority for the purposes of their common effort to conserve and develop their own identity, language and culture, as well as for the purpose of expressing and protecting the interests of the community that has been formed historically.
The information for minority organizations is being drafted by the Czech Statistical Office in collaboration with the Office of the Government. There is a Council for National Minorities that advises the Government as well.
Representatives of 13 national minorities come together on that advisory body, including from the Belarusian, German, Polish, Romani, Ruthenian, Serbian, Slovak, Ukrainian or Vietnamese national minorities. The online version of the census in the Czech Republic begins on 27 March and will run until 9 April.
In addition to the Czech-language version of the census, people will be able to complete census forms online in English, German, Polish, Romanes, Russian, Ukrainian and Vietnamese. According to statisticians, it will be possible to toggle between language versions when inputting the data.
Basic information about the census is also available online in Romanes now. Census commissioners will be going into the field between 17 April and 11 May.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CITIZENSHIP AND NATIONALITY?
Citizenship of a state or being under the jurisdiction of a state means a person holds citizenship awarded by a state under whose jurisdiction the person then belongs. The difference between citizenship of a state and nationality is that a person can choose nationality, unlike citizenship, which is awarded by the state itself. A citizen can, for example, report Romani nationality and Czech citizenship because the person lives under the jurisdiction of the Czech Republic, which has awarded that individual citizenship. Citizenship and state jurisdication are given by the state, but a person's nationality is "voluntary" and stems from a personal sense of belonging to that nation.
Households that did not complete an online census form will receive a paper one from the census commissioners. Those will just be printed in Czech.
The translations into the seven other languages will be available on the website of the census. It will also be possible to acquire a copy of the translated forms from census commissioners or at census contact points, i.e., at selected post offices and the regional branches of the Statistical Office.
The draft material about the census, which is several pages long, explains why it is essential to list a minority nationality during the census. For example, according to the law on municipalities, it is the case that if, during the most recent census, at least 10 % of the citizens living on municipal territory report a nationality other than Czech, then the municipality must establish a Committee for National Minorities.
Such Committees for National Minorities can also be established above and beyond the framework established by these legal regulations. The existence of such a committee is connected to a whole series of opportunities for the application of national minority rights.
Those rights include, for example, the right to education in the language of the national minority, the right to use place names in different languages and for signs to be posted in the national minority language, the right to use the language of a national minority for electoral matters and when holding referendums, and the right to use the language of the national minority during contact with public officials. Many of the fundamental, important rights held by members of national minorities need not be directly linked to the existence of such a committee, but the fact that citizens report membership in a given national minority means they can influence the intensity and scope of support for activities undertaken by members of the national minority that are publicly funded.
The draft material being prepared for minority organizations also indicates, among other things, that minority numbers influence the advancement of the minority's interests and rights, such as the right to cultural development, the right to disseminate and receive information in the language of a national minority, the production and broadcasting of radio and television programs in relationship to members of a national minority, the allocation of subsidies and other support, etc. During the census it will be possible for each person to list two nationalities.
Emphasis during the census is being placed on preserving people's anonymity and on security for the data collected. Reporting nationality and membership in a national minority is always up to the will of any given individual and is, therefore, an absolutely voluntary matter.
For that reason, reporting nationality is not compulsory during the Census of People, Houses and Apartments, which means it is possible to either report one nationality, two nationalities, or none. The draft material for minority organizations also explains the difference between citizenship (being under the jurisdiction of a state) and nationality, which is not clear to many people, according to the findings of news server Romea.cz.
Nationality is not connected to citizenship of a state. Records of nationality are not kept anywhere, not by municipalities, regional authorities, or the state itself, which means it is impossible to find nationality listed, for example, in personal identification or any other personal document issued by the Czech Republic.
Citizenship awarded by the Czech Republic, on the other hand, is documented by a Czech identity card or travel document listing such citizenship, and at the same time citizenship of the Czech Republic is data that is individually listed in the population registry. The state, therefore, does not keep a registry of the nationalities of the inhabitants of the Czech Republic, while the citizenship of each inhabitant of the Czech Republic is individually registered.
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