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Council of Europe assemby calls for ban on euthansia: The Church of England Newspaper, February 3, 2012, p 7. February 10, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abortion/Euthanasia/Biotechnology, Church of England Newspaper, EU.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has called for its member states to ban euthanasia.

On 25 January 2012 the Strasbourg-based assembly adopted resolution 1859/2012 entitled “Protecting human rights and dignity by taking into account previously expressed wishes of patients” to establish principles governing living wills and advance directives in Europe.

A living will or advance directives is a legal document endorsed by an individual when they are of sound mind that sets out their wishes relating to a medical intervention or treatments, should they not be able to express their wishes at the time of the intervention.

In debating the measure, MPs argued that living wills had been abused in some cases to permit euthanasia.  PACE adopted a series of guidelines to govern the crafting of the documents and adopted the resolution stating: “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.”

The Assembly also recommended “that the Committee of Ministers [the 47 national ambassadors in Strasbourg] bring the Resolution to the attention of member states, with a request for implementation.”

While PACE has no authority to bind member states, including the U.K., its decisions guide the deliberations of the European Court of Human Rights, which is scheduled to review the case of Koch v. Germany, where the court will review Germany’s ban on assisted suicide. In 2011 the ECHR ruled in Haas v. Switzerland that the European Convention of Human Rights did not create a right to suicide.  In light of last week’s resolution, the court will be asked to decide whether suicide and euthanasia is a violation per se of the right to life guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights.

Dr Grégor Puppinck, Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice – a pro-life pressure group – stated “this resolution is a clear indication that the growing majority of Europeans is opposed to euthanasia.”

The “many abuses” occurring in states such as Holland which permit euthanasia are “alarming and constitute violations of true human rights,” he claimed.

Dr. Puppinck urged those European States that have legalized euthanasia to conform their laws to the “principles set forth by the PACE.”