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CNK response to Swiss poll

more: Press Releases, Abroad, Press Releases/Abroad

16th May 2011

Dr Peter Saunders, Campaign Director of Care not Killing, representing over 40 organisations, said, 'We are disappointed that voters in Zurich appear to have followed the call of the two major political parties to support the status quo in today's referendum on assisted suicide after an earlier poll showed that two thirds of Swiss people were concerned about suicide tourism. However we are pleased that the Swiss government is still planning to revise the country's federal laws on assisted suicide next year.

Thus far about 160 Britons in ten years - or about 16 a year - have ended their lives at the controversial Dignitas facility run by Ludwig Minelli. This is a very small trickle compared with the 1,000 and 16,000 who, based on a House of Lords Select Committee report, would die here annually under an Oregon or Dutch-type law respectively.

The British Suicide Act remains fit for purpose. Through its blanket prohibition on all assistance with suicide, it continues to provide a strong deterrent to the exploitation and abuse of vulnerable people whilst giving both prosecutors and judges discretion in hard cases. It strikes the right balance, is clear and fair and does not need changing.

British parliaments in Westminster and Edinburgh have rightly rejected any loosening of the law here three times over the last five years - in 2006, 2009 and 2010 - on the basis that any change would place pressure on vulnerable people (those who are elderly, disabled, sick or depressed) to end their lives for fear of being a financial or emotional burden on others.

We should continue to resist any calls from pressure groups to weaken this law.


British Suicide Act remains fit for purpose and does not need changing in wake of Swiss vote, Dr Peter Saunders, Sunday 15 May 2011

Swiss assisted suicide vote

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