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Council of Europe seeks total ban on assisted suicides

The practice of assisted suicide, or euthanasia, has been gradually spreading. Now, in a move that has surprised campaigners both for and against, the Council of Europe has said it should be permanently banned.

Simon Caldwell

Simon Caldwell

Updated: February 01, 2012 07:43 AM GMT
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Council of Europe seeks total ban on assisted suicides

The Council of Europe has ruled that euthanasia and assisted suicide should be banned in every country across the Continent. In a declaration that will have huge implications on human rights laws in its 47 member countries the Strasbourg-based organisation announced that such practices “must always be prohibited”. The move will represent a major setback to assisted dying campaigners in the UK who want Britain to follow Holland, Belgium and Switzerland in allowing doctors to help to end the lives of their patients. The explicit condemnation of euthanasia was inserted into a non-binding resolution entitled “Protecting Human Rights and Dignity by Taking Into Account Previously Expressed Wishes of Patients”. The resolution had originally simply focused on the human rights questions of “advance directives”, or “living wills”, in which people set out how they wish to be treated if they became mentally incapacitated. But members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe argued that living wills, which became legal in the UK under the 2005 Mental Capacity Act, were inextricably connected to euthanasia. They successfully moved an amendment forbidding euthanasia by 34 votes to 16 with six abstentions. The amendment said that “euthanasia, in the sense of the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit must always be prohibited”. Full Story: Euthanasia should be banned across Europe, rules Council Source: Catholic Herald

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