FRENCH BAN ON TAHITIAN LANGUAGE DISAPPOINTS

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Complaint tossed by European Court of Human Rights

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 7, 2010) – A former French Polynesian assembly member, Sabrina Birk, says she is disappointed that a French ban of the use of the Tahitian language in the legislature will remain.

Her complaint in 2006 to the European Court of Human Rights has been thrown out as the court claimed that it wasn’t in its powers to decide what language a parliament should use.

Ms Birk says this is in spite of the autonomy statute recognizing the Tahitian language as a fundamental element of cultural identity.

"Tahitian is not a dead language; we speak it fluently here all the time. You can not oblige people just because they work in politics or the administration to no longer speak the language. That isn’t right."

Sabrina Birk says she will be talking to her lawyer to see if there is another international forum that could change the position taken by Paris.

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