Today we have taken another step forward in protecting and promoting human dignity in Europe: the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), with the support of 61 members, has registered awritten declaration against child euthanasia in Belgium (no. 567).
The declaration recalls previous PACE resolutions in “encourag[ing] the member states of the Council of Europe to respect and protect the dignity of terminally ill or dying persons in all respects by upholding the prohibition against intentionally taking the life of terminally ill or dying persons.” It further calls on states to “recognis[e] that the right to life, especially with regard to a terminally ill or dying person, is guaranteed by the member states, in accordance with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights which states that ‘no one shall be deprived of his life intentionally.”
In December 2013, the Belgian Senate voted in favour of extending its euthanasia law to children, which would allow children to ask for euthanasia if certain criteria are met. The World Youth Alliance recognises the intentional taking of a human life as a violation of the intrinsic dignity of that person and asserts that euthanasia should never be legal or tolerated. Terminally ill children in particular should not be permitted to believe that their lives may not be worth living, which is what this vote tells them.
The PACE declaration agrees, stating that the vote in the Belgian Senate “[b]etrays some of the most vulnerable children in Belgium by accepting that their lives may no longer have any inherent value or worth and that they should die, [and p]romotes the unacceptable belief that a life can be unworthy of life which challenges the very basis of civilised society.”
World Youth Alliance Europe played a strong role in collecting the support of Parliamentary Assembly members for this declaration. Next week, the Belgian House of Representatives will vote on whether to allow child euthanasia, and our staff and members are active in raising awareness and combating this legislation. To get involved in this fight, please feel free to contact me.
Director, World Youth Alliance Europe