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Minorities discriminated against in administration

Switzerland's French and Italian-speaking minorities are still under-represented in the federal administration according to Helvetia Latina.

The lobby group called on the government to apply the new law on languages, which will heighten the role of minority languages in the administration.

Helvetia Latina said cabinet is responsible for ensuring the right balance is struck between the country's different languages within its administration.

"I don't like the idea of creating another state body, but if the government doesn't want to fulfil its duties, maybe we should consider something like Canada's commissioner of official languages," said association's president, Claude Ruey.

An official such as this would be given the power to carry out investigations.

Several motions have been filed in parliament, including a suggestion to demand that all new managers and senior civil servants speak two national languages and understand a third.

German is the first language for about 64 per cent of the Swiss population, ahead of French at 20 per cent, Italian at 6.5 per cent and Romansh at 0.5 per cent.


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