At the end of January, various newspaper reports appeared that stated that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had just adopted an amendment, during a debate on living wills or advance directives, which said that “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“.
This amendment was debated and agreed in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on January 25, 2012, when adopting the non-binding Resolution and Recommendation concerning Advanced Directives, Living Wills, Power of Attorneys and Consent to Treatments “Protecting Human rights and dignity by taking into account previous expressed wishes of patients” (Resolution nr 1859 (2012) and Recommendation nr 1993 (2012)).
The document (Docc 12804) debated was the Report from the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Developments (the former Committee on Social, Health and Family Affairs that proposed the notorious Gatterer Report 1814 (1999)) from raporteur Mr. Xuclà i Cosat from Spain.
It should be stressed that only a small minority of the members of the Parliamentary Assembly were present when this amendment was adopted (with only 34 in favour, 16 opposing, and 6 abstentions) late on Friday afternoon, January 27th; and that this amendment, while it might have some influence in future discussions in the European Court of Human Rights, is not binding on individual European nations, each of which makes its own laws.
The Right-to-Die Europe Board is presently working on an application for consultative status with the Council of Europe, as a regional non-governmental organization. This will be submitted to the Council of Europe’s Division of NGOs and Civil Society within the next few weeks. Then, each Member Society in Right-to-Die Europe will be asked to get involved in supporting this application.
If you are interested in the details of the debate you can read it here.