End of Life


We call on States to safeguard the rights of sick, disabled, and elderly persons, including the right to life and to the highest attainable standard of health, and to reject the promotion of euthanasia and assisted suicide, which undermine the inherent dignity of the human person.

INTERNATIONAL LAW

The "right to die" is NOT recognized in international law

Euthanasia and assisted suicide practices violate the inherent right to life of every person, which is enshrined in international law

Various instruments of international law include strong protections for the sick, disabled, and elderly​

UN DOCUMENTS

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights highlights the right the sick, disabled, and elderly persons to an adequate standard of living

Chapter VII of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development references the importance of elderly and disabled persons' contributions to society

The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing outlines governments' commitments to the rights of older persons

ACTION POINTS FOR UN DELEGATES

  1. Remove language that could have detrimental consequences for the protection of human life
    • Example from the First session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, Montevideo 12 – 15 August 2013

    "Include care in social protection systems, through allowances, social and health-care services and economic benefits that maximize autonomy, in particular for older persons, and guarantee the rights, dignity, and well-being of families and older persons, including the right to a dignified death with proper care, without any form of discrimination or violence;" - Paragraph 31


    Proposed Deletion: Remove "including the right to a dignified death with proper care"

  2. Ensure that UN documents highlight the rights of sick, disabled, and elderly persons as equal members of society with the capacity to lead self-determined lives and contribute to society
    • Examples from the 66th Session of the General Assembly "Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing" (A/RES/66/127)

    "Also encourages Member States to ensure that older persons have access to information about their rights so as to enable them to participate fully and justly in their societies and to claim full enjoyment of all human rights" - Paragraph 17


    "Recognizes the importance of strengthening intergenerational partnerships and solidarity among generations, and in this regard calls upon Member States to promote opportunities for voluntary, constructive and regular interaction between young people and older generations in the family, the workplace and society at large" - Paragraph 15

    • Example from the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women "Agreed conclusions on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls" (E/2013/27 E/CN.6/2013/11)

    "Take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, educational and other measures to protect and promote the rights of women and girls with disabilities as they are more vulnerable to all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, including in the workplace, educational institutions, the home and other settings" - Paragraph 34 (gg)

  3. Insert language in UN documents the reflects the importance of the best care and support for the sick, disabled, and elderly
    • For example, include references to the critical importance of palliative care.​

    Palliative care is "an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual." (World Health Organization)