GENEVA, Switzerland — Luxembourg's practice of euthanasia is incompatible with respect for human rights, according to Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO), an international non-governmental organization working to secure human rights for all human beings. MCCL GO has submitted a contribution to the U.N. Human Rights Council's review of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg legalized euthanasia in 2009, becoming the third country in Europe to do so. "The well-established examples set by the Netherlands and Belgium—which include neglect of safeguards, euthanasia of mentally ill patients, and even non-voluntary killing—should be a warning about what can happen in Luxembourg or anywhere else that pursues euthanasia," says Scott Fischbach, MCCL GO Executive Director. The Human Rights Council, an inter-governmental U.N. body founded to promote and protect human rights worldwide, conducts a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of all nations to determine whether they are fulfilling their human rights obligations and commitments. The Council will review Luxembourg during the 29th UPR Working Group session in early 2018.
MCCL GO's contribution to the upcoming review (available online) notes that international human rights treaties protect the inherent right to life of all human beings, including those who are elderly, sick, and disabled. It explains how abuses of Luxembourg's euthanasia requirements would be difficult to uncover. Moreover, Luxembourg permits euthanasia when patients are suffering "psychologically," such as from depression or mental illness. But psychiatric problems can hinder a person's judgement and prevent proper consent.
Further, euthanasia threatens the right to health when it prevents patients from receiving the health care to which they are entitled. For example, research has indicated that requests for death—even among terminally ill patients—are closely associated with depression that is potentially treatable. "All patients deserve to have their rights to life and health respected and protected," Fischbach says. "A law that authorizes killing patients through euthanasia is dangerous and unacceptable." MCCL GO has previously contributed to the Human Rights Council’s reviews of the Netherlands and Switzerland.
MCCL GO is the U.N.- and OAS-accredited global outreach program of the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Education Fund. Our goal is to protect as many human beings as possible from the destruction of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia.