ADF International


International Day of Older Persons: protect the most vulnerable


  • Euthanasia numbers show elderly are most effected group
  • “Affirm Dignity | End Euthanasia” campaign launch

VIENNA (1 October 2019) – 1 October is International Day of Older Persons. According to the UN, population ageing is set to become one of the most significant social transformations of our time. Against this backdrop, we see a push in some countries towards the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Experts warn of prioritizing financial considerations over respect for the most vulnerable.

“A fair and just society cares for its most vulnerable. On the International Day of Older Persons, we are called to remember the elderly members of our society who deserve the utmost respect and care. This includes caring for them in a humane way and helping them know that their lives are worth living. The legalization of euthanasia sends the opposite message. It implicitly tells those who are sick or old that they are a burden, pointing them towards euthanasia,” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International.

The slippery slope of euthanasia laws

The introduction of euthanasia laws in European countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands have seen the numbers of euthanasia cases rise dramatically. In 2018, 67.1% of the more than 2000 cases of euthanasia recorded were older than 70 years.

“The slippery slope is on full public display in Belgium, and we can clearly see the tragic consequences. According to the most recent government report, more than six people per day are killed in this way, and that may yet be the tip of the iceberg. The figures expose the truth that, once these laws are passed, the impact of euthanasia cannot be controlled. Belgium has set itself on a trajectory that, at best, implicitly tells its most vulnerable including the elderly that their lives are not worth living. This is not an example that other countries should follow,” said Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International.

Affirm Dignity | End Euthanasia

On 12 October, ADF International is launching a global campaign, “Affirm Dignity | End Euthanasia”, in order to raise awareness around euthanasia laws. The campaign aims to inform through personal stories and testimonies, ongoing legal cases, and deep research into the impact of euthanasia on individuals and society. It encourages people all over the world to speak up for the right to life and affirm every person’s inherent dignity.

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Faith-based legal advocacy organization that protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people.