Articles of Association / Statutes


Article 1 Name and Seat

1Under the name «DIGNITAS – To live with dignity – To die with dignity» exists an association in line with article 60 et seq. of the Swiss Civil Code (ZGB), with seat in Maur.

2The Association is neutral in respect of religious and political affiliation.


Article 2 Purpose

1Knowing that

– suicide is the last freedom of humans;

– it is urgently necessary to reduce not only the number of suicides but, even more urgently, the much higher number of suicide attempts;

– in order to significantly reduce the number of suicide attempts it is essential to offer an honest, comprehensive and open-outcome counselling option;

– most of the existing organisations which work in suicide prevention generally reject suicide, so that up-front they appear unsuitable for such a counselling option;

– in up to 49 out of 50 cases, trying to end one’s life without expert knowledge leads to failure; often with severe consequences for the individual’s health and with high risks, also for third parties, resulting in a lot of suffering and a serious impact for society;

– the European Court of Human Rights stated that the right to self-determination, protected by article 8 ECHR, includes the right of an individual to decide by what means and at what point his or her life will end;

– due to in part centuries-old ideological prejudice, so far this freedom exists only incompletely and thus still needs universal implementa-tion;

– making use of this right involves careful consideration, thoughtful ex-changes with others, and help based on experience;

– in many countries a predominant majority of the population is in favour of sensible assistance in dying, a request which is in conflict with legislation dating often from the 19th century; based on several opinion polls, such legislation cannot be considered sufficiently democratically legitimate anymore;

– patient’s rights, especially at the end of life, are not always respected; people need to be made aware of these rights, which should be made use of and enforced;

the Association aims to ensure its Beneficiary Members a life with dignity and a dying with dignity and to help further individuals to enforce this human right and to fight for its worldwide implementation.

2The Association aims to realise this object by:

a) assisting its Beneficiary Members in word and deed, within the limits of the Association’s means adapted to the individual case, in all instances where the Member’s claim to respect of their dignity, in particular with respect to their human rights and fundamental freedoms in regard of their life and their death, must be considered as jeopardised; and by

b) representing the interests of its Beneficiary Members in regard of the en-forcement of their right to self-determination towards the public as well as the authorities at home and abroad;

c) offering relevant advice to everyone who contacts the Association, within the framework of its resources;

d) supporting legal proceedings in Switzerland and abroad if these serve the enforcement of human rights and basic freedoms, especially as to life and dying;

e) supporting and promoting further efforts by others that, in the view of the organs of the association, serve the realisation of the aims of the association.

3In regard to the phase at the end of life, the Association offers its Beneficiary Members specifically the following services:

a) during their membership, the Association provides Beneficiary Members with a legally effective advance directive (patient’s living will) which must be observed by medical doctors, hospitals and clinics. Where necessary, the Association assists Beneficiary Members directly through a lawyer in order to enforce the advance directive; and

b) the Association procures Beneficiary Members, who wish a freely-chosen death, access to dignified voluntary death proceedings through expert personnel if on request of the Beneficiary Member his or her unbearable suffering and senseless prolonging of life shall be ended.

4For realising these aims, the Association may also support people and le-gal entities, take a stake in legal entities or found legal entities.

5The Association itself pursues neither acquisition nor self-help purposes. If the Association founds any legal entities, these must not pursue acquisition purposes either.


Article 3 Membership

1The membership is composed of Active Members, Members of the Advisory Board and Beneficiary Members. The Secretary General will make the final decision about the admission of members to all categories.

2He or she may refuse admission without stating reasons.

3Members who impair the interests of the Association can be expelled from it on the decision of the Secretary General; his or her decision is final.


Article 4 Rights and Obligations of Members

1Active Members will benefit from all membership rights in the sense of legal provisions. They are obliged to attend the general meeting as well as to pay the membership fees for Active Members as decided by the general meeting.

2All other Members do not have a right to vote at the general meeting. They are obliged to pay the membership fees of their membership category decided by the general meeting.

3Members of the Advisory Board are at the disposal of the Association in that they allow the Association to advertise for the Association and its objectives, with reference to their membership. They provide advice to the Secretary General in connection with all questions of the activities of the Association.

4Every year, Beneficiary Members decide to renew their membership by paying their subscription. They are entitled to an individual patient’s advance directive. They are also entitled to an accompanied suicide by assistants of voluntary death proceedings of the Association, provided that the necessary prerequisites, both set by the law and by the Association, are fulfilled.

5Members have no personal liability for the Association's obligations.


Article 5 Bodies of the Association

1The Association's supreme governing body is the general meeting of Active Members.

2The Leading Body is the Secretary General.

3Accounting control is taken care of by Auditing Body. The auditors need not be Members of the Association. Their task may be assigned to a legal entity.


Article 6 General Meeting

The General Meeting of Active Members shall be convened at least once every year. This body elects the Secretary General and the Auditors, decides on budget, management and accounting and determines membership fees for all categories of Members.


Article 7 Secretary General

1The Secretary General is elected from the group of Active Members and is vested with all powers which are not assigned to other bodies. He re-presents the Association to the outside.

2He or she is entitled to delegate tasks. For this, he or she can assign authorised agents whose competencies include estate transactions and legal actions.


Article 8 Auditors

1The Auditing body verifies the accounts and reports to the General Meeting.

2It can conduct other orders for auditing for the General Meeting.


Article 9 Funds

1The financial resources of the Association are composed of contributions of Members, legacies and donations.

2Basically, the Members of all categories determine the amount of their yearly membership fee themselves, taking into account their personal circumstances and means; consequently, the amounts adopted by the General Meeting are minimum fees for the acknowledgement of a membership with the Association.

3The one-off joining fee and the annual subscription for the different Member categories are set by the General Meeting in a regulation.

4Members who wish to make use of voluntary death proceedings conducted by the Association must, for the necessary services, pay additional membership contributions. These are set by the General Meeting in a regulation. The additional membership fees include an adequate solidarity contribution to make possible the reductions and exemption mentioned in the following paragraph, and to co-finance the general activities of the Association

5Members who live under very modest economic circumstances may be – on a substantiated request, by decision of the Secretary General – completely or partially exempt from the duty to pay the one-off joining fee and the annual membership fee. This provision also applies to the additional membership contributions.


Article 10 Surpluses

The Association invests any surplus in the enhancement of its services, the enforcement and maintenance of human rights and basic freedoms, especially the freedom of choice and self-determination in life and life’s end, as well as the enhancement of measures to prevent risky suicide attempts and the reduction of number of suicides.


Article 11 Revision of the Articles of Association

The present Articles of Association may be revised at any time. Amendment of articles 2, 3, 4 and 9 requires approval by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast by the Active Members entitled to vote attending the General Meeting.


Article 12 Appropriation of funds on Dissolution

In case of dissolution of the Association, all remaining assets are to be given to an institution with identical or similar objectives. A return of assets of the association to the Members of the Association is ruled out.





Forch/Maur, 16 May 1998  /  20 December 2002  /  14 December 2004  /  3 December 2018  /  8 February 2023


The original German text of the Articles of Association is the sole governing document.



The Articles of Association as a pdf-document


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