News from Europe

Belgium euthanasia law is getting out of control

Several countries criticized Belgium for its 2002 euthanasia law at a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council this week, urging it to protect people with disabilities and the elderly, noting that registered euthanasia deaths had experienced a hundredfold increase in that country.


“Sadly, over the years, we have seen Belgium’s euthanasia law spiral out of control,” Giorgio Mazzoli, U.N. legal officer for ADF International, said in a statement, which noted that the law was expanded in 2014 to enable doctors to end the lives of children of any age.

Citing a case, it said the life of a twenty-three-year-old female was “tragically ended by euthanasia due to her battle with mental health issues.” Belgium is undergoing a “Universal Periodic Review,” during which states are scrutinised on their human rights record and called to consider reforms.

The group said Belgium experienced a hundredfold increase in registered euthanasia deaths since euthanasia was legalised in 2002. “In 2017, almost twenty per cent of deaths by euthanasia in Belgium were carried out on patients displaying symptoms common with aging,” it added.

In January 2018, representatives of the Roman Catholic Church warned that the euthanasia law was being abused as patients were being killed without the proper legal checks.

In the summer of 2018, it was widely reported that in 2016 and 2017, three children younger than eighteen were put to death by euthanasia in Belgium. In addition to a seventeen-year-old suffering from muscular dystrophy, a nineyear-old who had a brain tumor and an eleven-year-old with cystic fibrosis also died by euthanasia in that two-year period.


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