UN experts alarmed at growing trend for ‘right to die’

Jan 27, 2021 by

by Michael Cook, MercatorNet:

This week UN human rights experts expressed alarm at a growing trend to enact legislation enabling access to medically assisted dying based largely on having a disability or disabling conditions, including in old age.

“We all accept that it could never be a well-reasoned decision for a person belonging to any other protected group – be it a racial minority, gender or sexual minorities – to end their lives because they experience suffering on account of their status,” the experts said. “Disability should never be a ground or justification to end someone’s life directly or indirectly.”

The experts are: Gerard Quinn, rapporteur on the rights of the disabled; Olivier De Schutter, rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights; and Claudia Mahler, an expert on human rights of the elderly.

Legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide, they said, would institutionalize and authorize ableism, and directly violate Article 10 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which requires States to ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively enjoy their inherent right to life on an equal basis with others.

The experts said that when life-ending interventions are normalised for people who are not terminally ill or suffering at the end of their lives, such legislative provisions tend to rest on – or draw strength from – ableist assumptions about the inherent “quality of life” or “worth” of the life of a person with a disability.

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