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: Deficiencies in palliative care
HITS: 9858 | 20-02-2002, 04:03 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Netherlands , PR and human rights, World health

It is often claimed, especially by opponents of euthanasia, that one of the reasons why euthanasia is practiced so widely in the Netherlands is that palliative medicine is underdeveloped there. Palliative medicine is medical treatment whose purpose is to cure symptoms where there is no hope of curing the underlying illness. This was developed, especially in England, after the Second World War.
A leading opponent of euthanasia in the Netherlands is Dr. Karel Gunning. He presides a Dutch and an international organization of anti-euthanasia doctors. He is highly critical of the present arrangements, and says, "The whole law is complete nonsense because doctors know in advance that they cannot be punished. If they fill in the forms wrongly (explaining why they put an end to their patients’ life) they will simply be asked to fill them in again."

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Euthanasia in the Netherlands: The proposed reform in the Netherlands
HITS: 1943 | 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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Euthanasia in the Netherlands: Comparison with Britain
HITS: 1888 | 20-02-2002, 03:54 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Netherlands , Analyzing, World health

In dealing with this exceedingly difficult area of medical ethics, it is illustrative to compare the difference in philosophical approach between Dutch doctors and their colleagues in other countries.
As a matter of moral principle, the British Medical Association makes a distinction between, on the one hand, breaking off or withholding treatment which is artificially prolonging the dying process or which is counter-productive, and, on the other, measures taken with the intention of ending a person’s life. In other words, it draws a distinction between allowing death to occur and causing it. Its guidelines say that doctors should never withhold treatment with the intention of hastening death.

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Human Rights and the practice of euthanasia in the Netherlands
HITS: 1989 | 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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Euthanasia in the Netherlands: The present legal position
HITS: 2116 | 20-02-2002, 03:20 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Netherlands , Politics, World health

The present legal position, like the present Dutch practices, is ambiguous. From the purely legal point of view, both euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal. However, even the law recognizes euthanasia and assisted suicide as lesser crimes than murder, which is not the case in most other countries or in international human rights law. The sentences which apply to euthanasia and assisted suicide in the Netherlands are markedly lower than those which apply to murder, for the simple reason that Dutch law does not consider these acts to be murder. Adherents of the argument that even partially permitting euthanasia leads down a "slippery slope" to uncontrollable abuses might well locate here, in the Dutch criminal code itself, the beginning of that slippery slope.

Article 293 of the Dutch penal code states, "He who, on the explicit and serious desire of another person, deprives him of his life, will be punished with an imprisonment of up to 12 years or a fine in the 5th category (100,000 guilders)." Article 294 states, "He who deliberately incites another person to commit suicide, renders assistance in doing so or provides him with the means to do so, will, in case suicide follows, be punished with an imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine in the 4th category (10,000 guilders)."

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Euthanasia in the Netherlands: A history of Dutch euthanasia
HITS: 2258 | 20-02-2002, 02:55 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Netherlands , Politics, World health

There can be few issues which touch the twin human rights issues of the rule of law and the right to life more deeply than euthanasia. And yet, in a leading European Union country which vaunts its own commitment to the principle of human rights, euthanasia is widely and openly practiced, even though it is against the law.
Introduction
The Dutch seat of government, the Hague, was the place where the first steps were made towards establishing a system of international criminal law: the first attempt at creating a supranational security system was made at the International Peace Conference in the Hague, while a series of conventions on the laws of war were signed at the Hague between 1904 and 1907, marking the preliminary building-blocks for a supranational legal system. Now, the Dutch city is once again in the vanguard of international criminal law, as it hosts the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the court which is expected to give rise, in time, to the International Criminal Court with universal jurisdiction.
Despite this, there are serious grounds for concern that the internationally famous Dutch toleration of euthanasia contradicts the very principles to which the Dutch have proclaimed themselves attached for a century. The Dutch parliament is currently considering a bill to bring the law into line with a quarter of a century of official toleration of euthanasia. However, even this regularization of the legal situation leaves open the more fundamental issues of the right to life and its potential infringement.

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