- ADF International delivers statement at the UN Human Rights Council warning New Zealand against legalizing euthanasia
- Landmark euthanasia case at European Court of Human Rights in final stages
GENEVA (23 September 2020) – At a dialogue with the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by Older Persons, ADF International delivered a statement on the dangers for the elderly when euthanasia is legalized. The international human rights organization drew attention to the coming referendum on the legalization of euthanasia in New Zealand and addressed the threats it would pose to the elderly and vulnerable.
“A fair and just society cares for its most vulnerable. The potential impact that the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide via the End of Life Choice Act of 2019 would have on older persons in New Zealand is deeply alarming. While the eligibility requirements are supposedly strict, the experience of other countries, where the practice is permitted, shows that once the door is open to intentional killing, there is no logical stopping point. If human dignity becomes linked to a person’s state of health or self-determination, it loses its inherent and objective character. Legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide will further increase social pressure on the elderly, who may be led to believe that their lives are ‘completed’ and ‘no longer worth living,’” said Giorgio Mazzoli, Legal Officer, United Nations for ADF International.
The reality of euthanasia laws for society
Belgium serves as an example for the negative effects euthanasia can have on society. The country legalized euthanasia in 2002. In 2014, the law was amended to include children with no lower age limit. The youngest child to be euthanized in Belgium was only 9 years old. Between 2003 and 2018 the number of people euthanized grew by about 1000%.
Just recently, ADF International submitted what could be the final legal arguments on behalf of Tom Mortier in his case against Belgium at the European Court of Human Rights. The case is Mr Mortier’s last chance to seek justice for the loss of his mother who was euthanized by lethal injection in 2012. ADF International argues that the Belgian euthanasia law fails to protect the fundamental right to life.
“International law has never established a so-called ‘right to die.’ On the contrary, it solidly affirms the right to life – particularly for the most vulnerable among us. One look at the tragic facts of Tom Mortier’s case exposes the lie that euthanasia is good for society. The sick, suffering, elderly, and vulnerable in our society deserve the utmost respect and care. The detrimental effects of euthanasia on individuals and society have become very clear in countries that have already gone down this path. There is nothing progressive about a society that refuses to care for its most vulnerable members. We strongly encourage New Zealand to take a step in the right direction,” said Robert Clarke, Deputy Director of ADF International and lead counsel for Tom Mortier.