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Is self-identification of individuals/groups a criterion for recognition and respect of minority or ethnic cultural linguistic religious groups' rights by the state/government?

Key Area:
Public Life, Culture, Sport & Media
Discrimination, Equality
10/01/2012 - 16:55
Short Answer

It isn't a criterion but some linguistic rights are respected

Qualitative Info

France does not recognise the existence on its territory of minorities as holders of collective rights enforceable under its legal system, and does not participate in international agreements for the protection and promotion of minority rights.

Regional languages (defined as “languages that have been spoken in some parts of the country longer than French”) or dialects spoken on the French territory are not recognised as minority languages. In this respect, it has to be noted that France has still not ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages that it signed in 1999. However, the reform of 21 July 2008 has introduced a new article in the Constitution, stating that “regional languages are part of France’s heritage”. As far as schools are concerned, the last available data show that, in 2005-2006, over 400,000 students received instruction in regional languages through special classes or bilingual curricula (70% of them at the primary level, 30% at the secondary). Bilingual curricula are also provided by private associative schools such as Diwan for Breton, Seaska for Basque, Calandretas for Occitan and Bressola for Catalan. The law of 5 March 2009 stipulates that public radios and TV channels have to contribute to the expression of regional languages. Compliance is very uneven, with the use of regional languages ranging from a few minutes to several hours a day, depending on the language, the broadcaster and on whether programmes are on radio or TV. Overall, every day, several hundred programmes in a dozen regional languages are broadcast in France, particularly in the overseas départements. The French Ministry for the Arts also recognizes and supports (mainly through financial support to cultural organizations and events) the maintenance of “non-territorial languages”, i.e. “languages associated with immigration, but long in use by a significant number of French people” and not having “any official status in any other country”. They include dialects of Arabic, western Armenian, Berber, Judeo-Spanish, Romani and Yiddish.




Groups affected/interested Linguistic minorities
Type (R/D) Inter-ethnic, Intra-ethnic
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Culture
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