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France: ECHR allows Dignitas proceedings against French State

The European Court of Human Rights is allowing the proceedings initiated by DIGNITAS against the French State to continue. This decision is an important step forward in ensuring that freedom of choice concerning the end of life is respected, and should be of interest for the political debate and the ongoing preparatory work for an end-
of-life-choice law in France.

Thirty-one French residents together with DIGNITAS invoked Articles 2, 3, 8 and 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, citing a violation of their right to life, their right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, their right to personal autonomy and their right to freedom of thought and conscience, resulting from the absence in French law of appropriate and sufficient guarantees concerning the right of each person to end his or her own life at a time of his or her choosing, consciously, freely and with dignity.

Ludwig A. Minelli, founder and Secretary General of DIGNITAS says: “The experience of the last 25 years has shown that in matters of assisted dying, the political/legislative path, in France and in other countries, is uncertain and often does not lead to a satisfactory result, i.e. true freedom of choice. The aim of our legal proceedings is to ensure that French people can exercise their (human) right to decide themselves on the manner and time of their own end of life, a right already.”