Don’t ever legalise euthanasia, says European body

Euthanasia “must always be prohibited” in Europe, the Council of Europe has ruled.

The declaration came from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a body which is made up of representatives from 47 countries across the European continent.

The resolution said: “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.”

Review

The statement came as the Assembly also considered other issues surrounding end-of-life decisions.

Although the resolution is not binding, Council of Europe member states are expected to be aware of it and to review their own legislation, a non-governmental European group said.

The Council of Europe was set up before the European Union (EU). All its member states, including all the current EU countries, are signatories to its governing Human Rights Convention.

Life

In January last year the European Court of Human Rights said there was no duty for European countries to assist individuals to commit suicide.

The decision was welcomed by Dr Peter Saunders, CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship, who said, “parliamentarians and judges who consider the matter carefully are not fooled by emotive arguments, hard cases and misinformed public opinion”.

Last month in the UK, the Government said a euthanasia case in the High Court should be thrown out.

The Government said there were “compelling reasons” for the court not to get involved in the case, saying that only Parliament can make such a decision.