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The Quality of Mercy

On 9th September VES UK published ‘The Quality of Mercy’, a comprehensive review of existing research on assisted dying and physical illness in the UK. ‘The Quality of Mercy’ demonstrates that the UK law has forced assisted dying underground, with the result that vulnerable people are not protected.

Dutch Ministers state that “terminal sedation” is different from euthanasia

In August the Dutch Ministers of Health and Justice rejected a call from the attorney general, Joan de Wijkerslooth, for “terminal sedation” to be covered by the same legal controls as (voluntary) euthanasia.

Mr de Wijkerslooth, who is head of the public prosecution service, argued that because terminal sedation can have the same effect as euthanasia it should be subject to same external controls.

Parliamentary Commission set up as Doctor claims responsibility for Vincent Humbert’s death

On 26th September Vincent Humbert died after his mother Marie Humbert injected a lethal dose of barbiturates into his intravenous drip. Four days later, his doctor claimed responsibility for his death. The publicity that has ensued from the case of Vincent Humbert has revitalised national debate on the subject of mercy-killing and prompted the French National Assembly to set up a Commission to investigate issues relating to the ‘end of life’.

Draft report on the situation as regards fundamental rights in the European Union (2002)

On the 3rd September the European Parliament voted to omit from an annual report on fundamental rights an article which raised the issue of assisted dying in Europe. The report on fundamental rights in the European Union in 2002 was prepared on the ‘own-initiative’ of the Committee on Citizen’s Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs. Whilst the report is mostly concerned with other human rights issues and abuses, its draft form had contained one article which:

The Report on Euthanasia

a) Summary

On the 5th September, the Council of Europe’s Committee on Social, Health and Family Affairs voted by a narrow margin to adopt the Report on Euthanasia prepared by Dick Marty.