28 Aug 2004

New Caledonia census threatened with boycott

7:32 am on 28 August 2004

The Kanak separatist political group in New Caledonia is renewing its threat to boycott next week's planned census.

The FLNKS has told the newspaper, Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes, that the population survey planned for Tuesday should be put off, because it doesn't ask respondents their ethnic identity.

The group has accused authorities of attempting to suppress the facts of the ethnic situation in New Caledonia by not asking a question about it in the census.

An FLNKS spokesperson Victor Tutugoro says the race-based questions are neither illegal, nor unconstitutional, and are essential to understand the ethnic balance in the territory.

He says the government should shelve the census until a full official report has looked into the question of ethnic identity.