This update is was posted on May 7, 2021 by ADF International.
Geneva (7 May 2021) – Belgium has been challenged on the human rights implications of its euthanasia law at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland this week. Undergoing a “Universal Periodic Review”, during which states are scrutinized on their human rights record and called to consider reforms, various states urged the government to improve treatment of the elderly and of persons with disabilities. Since legalization in 2002, the country has experienced a hundredfold increase in registered euthanasia deaths. In February 2014, the law was expanded to enable doctors to end the lives of children of any age.
“A fair and just society cares for its most vulnerable. International law protects everyone’s inherent right to life and requires countries to protect the dignity and lives of all people, rather than help ending them. Sadly, over the years, we have seen Belgium’s euthanasia law spiral out of control. In one case, the life of a 23-year-old female was tragically ended by euthanasia due to her battle with mental health issues. There is nothing progressive about a government that refuses to provide care and support to those who need it most. We urge the Belgian government to accept the recommendations it has received on this matter: bring an end to euthanasia and redirect resources into improving palliative care for those reaching the natural end of their lives,” said Giorgio Mazzoli, UN legal officer for ADF International, Geneva.