Figures released by the Regional Euthanasia Review Committees (RTE) show deaths by euthanasia have reached a record high in the Netherlands.
Registered deaths by euthanasia rose by 9 per cent across the country in 2020 compared to the previous year.
The number of reported cases has increased dramatically since Dutch law was liberalised – from 1,882 in 2002 to 6,938 in 2020.
According to RTE chairman Jeroen Recourt, the “figures are part of a larger development”.
He added: “More and more generations see euthanasia as a solution to unbearable suffering.”
Recourt also told the Dutch newspaper Trouw that the vast majority of deaths by euthanasia involved elderly people who were not seriously ill, but diagnosed with normal conditions associated with old age.
Last year, the Dutch Government announced controversial plans to decriminalise euthanasia for children under the age of twelve.
Currently, campaigners are seeking to extend the right to die by euthanasia to those over the age of 75 who are not ill but simply ‘tired of life’.
One leading euthanasia medic, Dr Bert Keizer, has said: “With every limit we set ourselves, there is the possibility to cross it.”
Dr Keizer also said that he sees “no reason” to believe that increased expansion of laws will not occur in the future.
In March, leaders of the Westminster All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice and urged him to set in motion a review into the law on assisted suicide.
Currently in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it is a crime to encourage or assist the suicide – or attempted suicide – of another person, an offence which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.
A Bill to legalise assisted suicide was soundly defeated in the House of Commons in 2015 by 330 votes to 118. The Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill was also rejected by 82 votes to 36 in the same year.