No human right to euthanasia, says European Convention judge

Euthanasia “flies in the face of human dignity”, a European Court of Human Rights judge has said.

Judge Vincent De Gaetano went on to state that there is “no right” to assisted suicide, a form of euthanasia, under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The judge from Malta has previously spoken out in support of Lillian Ladele, the Christian registrar whose court battle to protect freedom of conscience went all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

GPs opposed

He made the euthanasia comments during an interview with the Times of Malta, the country’s longest running daily newspaper.

The legalisation of euthanasia is currently being discussed by lawmakers in Malta.

But in December, a joint parliamentary committee heard evidence from Dr Jurgen Abela that 90 per cent of the country’s general practitioners are opposed to euthanasia.

Vulnerable

In the UK, an assisted suicide Bill was rejected in 2015 by MPs in the House of Commons by 330 votes to 118.

Serious concerns had been raised that legalising assisted suicide would pressurise the sick, elderly and vulnerable into ending their lives for fear of being a burden.

In 2013 judge De Gaetano was one of two European Court of Human Rights judges to hold in favour of Miss Ladele.

Ladele

She lost her case, but in a dissenting opinion the judges described the reasoning behind the decision against Ladele as “at best irrelevant and at worst a case of inverted logic”.

They went on to criticise Islington Borough Council for forcing Ladele out of her job saying it had “effectively sought to force the applicant to act against her conscience or face the extreme penalty of dismissal—something which… cannot be deemed necessary in a democratic society”.

Miss Ladele died in 2015 aged 54.