BHHRG

About BHHRG

The British Helsinki Human Rights Group monitors human rights and democracy in the 57 OSCE member states from the United States to Central Asia.
* Monitoring the conduct of elections in OSCE member states.
* Examining issues relating to press freedom and freedom of speech
* Reporting on conditions in prisons and psychiatric institutions

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Euthanasia in the Netherlands: The proposed reform in the Netherlands
HITS: 1944 | 20-02-2002, 03:58 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Netherlands , PR and human rights, World health

The proposed new law has been introduced into the lower house of the Dutch parliament by the Minister of Justice, Bank Korthals, and the Minister of Health, Dr. Els Borst. A provision is to be included in the Netherlands Criminal Code which would provide for the termination of life on request and assistance with suicide would not be punishable if certain criteria were fulfilled. The bill is a consequence of the coalition accord which led to the present coalition government, involving the Labour party and two Liberal parties.
The two conditions under which a physician will not be subject to prosecution are:
The physician must have fulfilled the requirements on due care, as laid down in a separate act, namely the Termination of Life and Request and Assistance with Suicide (Review) Act.

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Human Rights and the practice of euthanasia in the Netherlands
HITS: 1990 | 20-02-2002, 03:30 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Netherlands , PR and human rights, World health

The extent to which the practices of euthanasia, assisted suicide and other forms of doctor-assisted death have flourished in the Netherlands are relatively well understood, thanks to two surveys conducted confidentially in 1990 and 1995 by the Dutch government. They came to the following findings:

 

    1990
% of all deaths/number of cases
1995
% of deaths/number of cases
Euthanasia 2.4% / 3,256 cases

1.8% / 2,319 cases

Assisted suicide 0.3% / 386 cases 0.3% / 407 cases
Cases in which a patient's life was deliberately ended by a doctor without the patient's request 0.8% / 1,031 cases 0.7% / 950 cases
Intensified pain treatment, partly intended to hasten death 3.89% / 4,895 cases 2.9% / 3,935 cases
Withdrawal of treatment or decision not to administer treatment, with the explicit intention of hastening death 8.7% / 11,208 cases 13.3% / 18,045 cases

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Italian Elections 2001
HITS: 2319 | 16-05-2001, 20:07 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Italy , Foreign media, Elections

One of the British Helsinki Human Rights Group’s regular election observers was in Italy for the general election on 13th May, 2001. He saw no evidence of fraud and no substantial allegations of it were made. This election saw efforts by the foreign media to influence the outcome.
  
The media versus democracy?
  
One of the British Helsinki Human Rights Group’s regular election observers was in Italy for the general election on 13th May, 2001. There was widespread chaos towards the close of the poll, as many more eligible voters appeared at polling stations than had been expected by the officials of the Ministry of the Interior. Despite this, he saw no evidence of fraud and no substantial allegations of it were made. The election was also controversial because of efforts by the foreign media to influence the outcome. Not since 1948, when the young CIA strained every muscle to prevent a Communist victory at the polls, had Italian voters been subject to so much pressure from abroad to discourage them from voting for a change of regime, in this case from a government led by the reform-Communists to one from the centre-right. Below, the Group’s rapporteur considers the role of the media as the main issue of the Italian elections.
Italy versus the World, or at least its media
I don’t think we’re arrogant. We’re a Marxist-style collective really – we’re the most pro-free market collective ever invented. Globalisation is here to stay and we are the house magazine of globalisation.”
Bill Emmott, Editor in chief of The Economist and critic of Silvio Berlusconi  

On 13th May 2001, Italy held elections to both houses of parliament and to several large municipalities. The election represented a considerable advance in the quality of Italian democracy, to the extent that two large multi-party blocs, each with its own clearly designated candidate for prime minister and clearly defined political programme, confronted one another. This was an improvement on the old system, where the voters voted but found that leadership and policy of the national government was decided behind closed doors after the election, and where the leader was frequently changed in the middle of a parliamentary term. Indeed, the victory of the Berlusconi coalition in these elections can be seen as a first in Italian democracy, to the extent that it is the first time that one political government has been thrown out at an election and replaced by a political government of the opposite political complexion. (The 1994 and 1996 elections, which brought to power, respectively, a right-wing and a left-wing government, came after periods of “technical” government.)
Despite these democratic advances, the world’s media made extraordinary efforts to present the election as the beginning of the end of Italian democracy. Indeed, CNN and other international media over-egged the pudding by repeatedly reported Italy was heading for its 58th since 1945, while omitting to comment on the fact that Italian politics has shown a marked increase in stability since electoral reform promoted a largely first-past-the-post electoral system after Silvio Berlusconi won the 1994 general election. The media campaign alleging that Italian democracy was in danger was launched simultaneously in various high-profile if little-read journals in Britain, France and the United States against the leader of the Italian right, Silvio Berlusconi. Mr. Berlusconi may be by far and away Italy’s leading media magnate but on a global scale he was definitely outgunned by the united international media onslaught. Given these foreign television news stations’ and newspapers’ ability to overlook or even endorse candidates in other countries accused of worse crimes than Mr. Berlusconi, their vociferous attacks on him raised serious doubt about the objectivity of these organs.

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