– Human rights activist Jeison Aristizabal asked State Council to protect children with disabilities
– Colombia’s Constitutional Court should reconsider decision to legalise euthanasia for minors
BOGOTÁ (6.6.2018) – On 5 June, ADF International submitted an amicus brief to the State Council of Colombia regarding the legalisation of euthanasia for minors. The State Council is tasked with safeguarding fundamental rights in Colombia and could ask the Constitutional Court to revoke its previous decision to legalise child euthanasia.
“The Constitutional Court’s decision to legalise euthanasia for children violates foundational human rights principles. We, as a society, will be judged by the way we care for the most vulnerable among us”, said Neydy Casillas, Senior Counsel for ADF International.
The Constitutional Court’s decision to legalise euthanasia for children violates foundational human rights principles
“We urge the State Council to request that the Court revokes its decision and to respect the inherent value of every human being.”
Legal protection of children with disabilities
The human rights organisation has submitted its brief alongside 2016 CNN Man of the Year, Jeison Aristizabal, who is petitioning the Court to reconsider its decision. Aristizabal, who was born with cerebral palsy, is presenting his petition to the State Council asking for the legal protection and guardianship on behalf of children with disabilities.
He argues that the decision to legalize euthanasia for minors puts children with disabilities at risk. Aristizabal has dedicated his life to ensuring that children with disabilities in Colombia have educational and medical support.
There is no “right to die”
In 2015, the Colombia Constitutional Court legalised euthanasia for adults. The Court extended this legalization to children in 2017 after an incident involving a 14-year old boy who suffered from cerebral palsy. The Constitutional Court decriminalized euthanasia for children, claiming that it was in the best interest of the children.
“There is no ’right to die’ under international law, and Colombia’s policy is incompatible with the right to life that is protected by the international treaties to which Colombia has committed. The Court created a right to die under the wrong idea that a human being who is in pain does not have dignity. However, dignity is intrinsic to the human being and it does not depend on the external condition of the person,” added Casillas.