Latest News / Blog


15 December 2019

The Food and Health Bureau of the Government of Hong Kong invited the public to submit views on end-of-life care legislative proposals regarding advance directives and dying in place. DIGNITAS contributed to the consultation by sending in a submission.

Website with the Consultation Papers (Link)

Submission by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity (PDF)

5 September 2019

More than Half of Jersey Doctors Favour Assisted Dying

Following the recent public opinion poll on assisted dying, a new poll has been carried out, again by 4insight, addressed to the island's doctors.

Comparing the two surveys, the proportion of doctors in favour is somewhat below that of the general public, but it is still a clear majority. For patients with a terminal illness, 60% of our doctors felt that assistance to die was sometimes or always acceptable, and that they would be willing to render that assistance, given professional and legal protection.

Doctors Research Report for End of Life Choices Jersey (pdf)

20 August 2019

End of Life Choices Jersey (Link) commissioned an independent survey from 4insight to gather Islanders views on end-of-life choices in Jersey. The organisation End of Life Choices Jersey was set up in response to the wish of many Islanders to determine how and when they end their own life, without incriminating those assisting them.

Michael Talibard of End of Life Choices Jersey says:

“Assisted dying, as we know, is a complex issue – you cannot ask people to declare themselves simply for or against – it always 'depends'.
Therefore we were pleased that My Death My Decision (Link) allowed us to mimic their well designed questionnaire, in which nuanced reactions were sought to different situations. So across four scenarios, respondents were asked if they would consider it acceptable for a doctor to assist each type of patient to die – always, sometimes, rarely or never. The results were remarkable, and showed a level of support a little greater even than that in the UK. There are different ways of summarising this, but adding together the 'always' and the 'sometimes', one sees figures of between 76% and 89% in favour. This gives us great encouragement."

Research Report for End of Life Choices Jersey (pdf)

5 August 2019

On 4 April 2019, the Parliament of South Australia established the Joint Committee on End of Life Choices. DIGNITAS – To live with dignity – To die with dignity contributed to the inquiry by sending the Committee a submission.

Website of the Parliament - Joint Committee on End of Life Choices (Link)

Submission by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity (PDF)

July 2019

Support the new court case in the UK by Phil Newby: a right to choose and die with dignity case arguing for a law change, for anyone who has a progressive degenerative condition which is life-shortening and which will ultimately lead to death but not without years of pain and suffering.

Pledge on Phil Newby’s CrowdJustice website

Phil Newby says: „We all hope for a happy, fulfilling life, that is not cut short and ends peacefully and relatively painlessly, but I have motor neurone disease (MND). I want the right to decide when my life is no longer bearable and to end it with dignity. That’s why I’m campaigning to legalise assisted dying for people like me, so we have the freedom to make a choice. An overwhelming majority of the public think terminally ill people should have the choice of assisted dying. This case gives us the chance to make a real, positive change.”

13 June 2019

On 12 June 2019, in the US-State of Maine, Governor Janet Mills signed the “Death with Dignity Act”, after the bill passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Act permits competent terminally ill residents of Maine with a prognosis of six months or less to get a physicians’ prescription for life-ending medication for self-administering so they can end their life in a humane and dignified manner.

Full text of the act LD1313 (Link / PDF)

Further resources (Link)

12 February 2019

Assisted Dying Coalition formed in the UK

In the UK, the liberal-progressive forces made up of campaigning groups such as My Death My Decision (MDMD) and Friends At The End (FATE), as well as doctors and nurses, has formed the Assisted Dying Coalition to push for the legalisation of assisted dying for the millions of citizens in the UK and crown dependencies who want the right to choose.
The Assisted Dying Coalition will campaign for the legal recognition of the right to die for individuals who have a clear and settled wish to end their life and who are terminally ill or incurably suffering.
DIGNITAS – To live with dignity – To die with dignity supports the Coalition.

Read more: >> Link
Website of the Coalition:

15 January 2019

Press release by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity

In 2018, the general advisory work and suicide attempt prevention remained an important part of the activities of the non-profit member society DIGNITAS – To live with dignity – To die with dignity. In the frame of its legal and political efforts, DIGNITAS wrote several submissions for consultations, and supported and accompanied court cases and political advances in Switzerland and beyond. The number of DIGNITAS’ members increases continually, whilst the number of accompanied suicides remains stable. In 2019, DIGNITAS will continue to engage in quality of life until the end, self-determination and real freedom of choice, combined with individual responsibility and advance planning. (PDF)

6 – 9 September 2018

WFRtDS World Federation of Right to Die Societies Biennial International Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, hosted by DignitySA

Website of the conference (Link)

«Twenty years DIGNITAS – To live with dignity – To die with dignity: Progress and Challenges – Review and Outlook» booklet to complement the talk (PDF)

WF conference Cape Town WF conference Cape Twon WF conference Cape Town

24 August 2018

The South Africa Parliament invited the public to submit written comments on a proposal for a bill on Advance Directives (Livings Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare), a comment on the National Health Amendment Bill 2018, aiming at gaining legal recognition, legal clarity, and legal enforceability of Advance Directives. DIGNITAS submitted a letter in support of the proposed legal recognition.

Government Gazette Notice 41789 (Link)

Submission by DIGNITAS – To live with dignity – To die with dignity (PDF)

23 August 2018 / 23 October 2017

On 23 August 2017, the Parliament of Western Australia established a Joint Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council to inquire and report on the need for laws in Western Australia to allow citizens to make informed decisions regarding their own end of life choices. DIGNITAS – To live with dignity – To die with dignity contributed to the inquiry by sending the Committee a comprehensive submission.

Website of the Parliament - Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices (Link)

Submission by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity (PDF)

On 23 August 2018, the Commitee published a Report titled ‘My Life, My Choice’ which is available online:  Link / PDF

18 May 2018

Press release by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity

On Thursday 17 May 2018 the non-profit member society “DIGNITAS – To live with dignity – To die with dignity” celebrated its twentieth anniversary. In the twenty years of its operation the member society has seen significant success in relation to freedom of choice and self-determination in life and life’s end. (PDF)

2. May 2018

Press release by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity

Ignorance, irresponsibility and hypocrisy – How a majority of UK politicians violate human rights and create suffering and costs

5 April 2018

Success in the USA: Hawaii Governor David Ige signed the ‘Our Care, Our Choice' House Bill 2739. Hawaii thus becomes the seventh US-State to allow residents to request and receive a prescription medication so as to die in a peaceful, humane, and dignified manner, under the condition that the person is suffering from a medically confirmed terminal illness with less than six months to live and possessing decisional capacity.

Website of the Hawaii State Legislature / HB 2739 (Link)

Governor Ige signing the Bill (Link)

The law comes into effect 1 January 2019

27 February 2018

In New Zealand, MP David Seymour introduced the “End of Life Choice Bill” (Bill 269-1) which gives people with a terminal illness or a grievous and irremediable medical condition the option of requesting assisted dying. In response to the public inquiry by the Justice Committee of the Parliament of New Zealand, DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity handed in a submission. This complements DIGNITAS’ earlier submission in response to the investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand based on the petition no. 2014/18 of Hon Maryan Street and 8,974 others.

Website of the New Zealand Parliament (Link)

Submission by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity (PDF)

24 January 2018

Press release by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity

Progress and challenges: review of the year 2017 and outlook for 2018

21 August 2017

Press release by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity

A note about DIGNITAS' activities: Freedom of choice and self-determination in life and at life’s end

2 May 2017

Press release by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity

7th Report on Quality Control of DIGNITAS’ Services in Relation to Accompanied Suicide published

5 April 2017

Press release by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity

New UK Legal Case for Self-chosen and Dignified End of Life (PDF)

8 March 2017

Press release by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity

Federal Administrative Court of Germany issues Landmark Decision (PDF)

18 January 2017

Press release by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity

A big Step forward, but more needs to follow (PDF)

14 November 2016

DIGNITAS’ advisory work and more to safeguard quality of life

Reader/brochure addition to the speech of DIGNITAS (PDF)

STEP – The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (Link)

2016 Special Interest Spotlight Session. End of Life Issues: Law and Practice (Link)

6 October 2016

Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa: "For those suffering unbearably and coming to the end of their lives, merely knowing that an assisted death is open to them can provide immeasurable comfort."

Read more in the Washington Post (Link)

11 July 2016 / 17 June 2016 / 6 February 2015

On 17 June 2016, Bill C-14 – an Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (Medical Assistance In Dying) – passed in the House of Commons and the Senate and is now law in Canada. The law no allows for physician-assisted accompanied suicide and voluntary euthanasia.

Legislative Summary of Bill C-14 (Link)

Bill C-14 in English and French (Link / PDF)

End of Life Planning Canada (Link)

Right to die Society of Canada (Link)

Dying with Dignity Canada (Link)

CAMAP - Canadian Association of
Medical Assistance in Dying Assessors and Providers

However, Bill C-14 will be challenged in court because it conflicts with the Supreme Court’s decision: by limiting access to only those patients whose natural deaths are “reasonably foreseeable”, the new law denies rightful access to entire classes of patients who have severe chronic conditions but who are not approaching end of life. (Link)

On 6 February 2015, in a unanimous 9:0 decision Canada’s Supreme Court has struck down the country’s Criminal Code laws prohibiting physician-assisted suicide. The rule didl not come into force for 12 months, extended by another 4 months on application by the government to gain time for drafting legislation. This delay elapsed 6 June 2016. It means it is no longer against the law, under certain circumstances, for a doctor to help someone who is severely ill to end their life.

In the words of MP Steven Flechter: ''It's unCanadian not to allow people to be empowered to make end of life decisions for themselves." (Link)

A brief summary of the case by the BCCLA (Link)

Supreme Court judgment of Carter v. Canada (Link)

Media coverage (Link)

As part of its response to the Carter decision, the Government of Canada has established the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada. The mandate of the Panel is to engage Canadians and key stakeholders on issues the federal government will need to consider in its response to the Carter ruling.

External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada (Link)

The panel visited DIGNITAS on 7 September 2015 (Link)

Additionally to general information, all available on the it’s website,
DIGNITAS presented the panel upon their visit with a

DIGNITAS has also written and submitted a paper with a complete law proposal for Canada, the “Draft Act to Provide for Accompanied Suicide with Assistance by Registered Charitable Not-for-Profit Organisations (Accompanied Suicide Act – ASA)” (PDF)

The panel learned much from the European experience (Link)

The Panel has published a final report (Link/PDF)

The consultation work of the Panel and the final report is followed up by the PDAM - Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying (Link)

There has been criticism on the Panel being that Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov and Catherine Frazee – two of the three panellists – were witnesses against assisted dying in the Carter v. Canada case. This raises questions as to the independence of the panel, it undermines its credibility and it could lead to a biased final report. (Link)

Furthermore, there has been critique that the survey the panel used was designed to manufacture fear, for example by telling people that “some say” that assisted dying may decrease resources for the disabled and then asking whether people are concerned. Or the question of whether a hypothetical 17-year-old with a full and complete understanding of his or her condition should be able to receive a doctor's help to die – whilst in fact the Supreme Court decision dealt only with adults, not emancipated minors. (Link); for a full report read: A Methodological Analysis of the Issues Book Survey on Doctor-Assisted Dying (Link/PDF)

11 - 14 May 2016

WF Amsterdam 2016 WF Amsterdam 2016: The 2016-2018 Board of the WFRtDS WF Amsterdam 2016

WFRtDS World Federation of Right to Die Societies
Biennial International Conference in Amsterdam

«DIGNITAS-Germany: 10 years of dealing with politics»
speech of Sandra Martino (PDF)

«The Swiss model of assisted dying and DIGNITAS’ work with the ECHR»
speech of Silvan Luley (PDF)

WF Amsterdam 2016 WF Amterdam 2016 WF Amsterdam 2016

28 April 2016

VI. Konference Neuropsychiatrického Fóra, Praha, Czechia

Booklet to complement the speech of DIGNITAS (PDF)

Website of the Neuropsychiatrické Fórum (Link)

Interview by Vojtěch Berger Czech Radio Český rozhlas, Radiožurnál (Link)

9 June 2016 / 2 April / 30 July 2015 / 18 December 2015

Inquiry into End of Life Choices
Are Victorian laws adequately meeting people’s expectations regarding medical options available at the end of their life?
The Legislative Council’s Legal and Social Issues Committee of the Parliament of Victoria, Australia, called for submission as it is interested in the community’s views, insights and experiences in relation to this issue, to inform its recommendations to the Parliament.

Website of the Parliament - Inquiry into End of Life Choices (Link)

Submission by DIGNITAS (PDF)

On 2 April 2016, a delegation of the Legal and Social Issues Committee at the Parliament of Victoria in Australia investigating End of Life Choices, including physician assisted dying, chaired by Hon Edward O'Donohue (Link), visited Dignitas to learn from the experience in Switzerland.

In December 2016, Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria, announced that in 2017, Government will introduce assisted dying legislation for Parliament to vote on (Link). The news in the media (Link)

The ‘Inquiry into End of Life Choices’ in Victoria, Australia, was followed by a further discussion paper from the Victorian Government: ‘Greater say for Victorians. Improving End of Life Care’, with an aim to develop a new state-wide end of life care framework.

Website of the consultation (Link)

Short submission by DIGNITAS (PDF)

The Legal and Social Issues Committee tabled its Final Report on its Inquiry into End of Life Choices in Parliament on 9 June 2016 – coinciding with the day, the End of Life Option Act came into effect in the US-State of California.

Final Report (Link/PDF)

Summary Booklet (Link/PDF)

15 March 2016

Your Death Your Choice - Join us in changing the law

DIGNITAS supports campaign and new court case to change the law in England & Wales

>> read more

June 2015 – February 2016

In New Zealand, the Health Select Committee of the Parliament has received a petition of Hon Maryan Street and 8,974 others requesting “That the House of Representatives investigate fully public attitudes towards the introduction of legislation which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable.” An investigation into ending one’s life in New Zealand was undertaken and public submissions were called on this petition, no. 2014/18.

Website of the New Zealand Parliament (Link)

Submission by DIGNITAS - To live with dignity - To die with dignity (PDF)

26 January 2016

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Assisted Dying Panel debate to coincide with the opening of the exhibition death: is it your right to choose? (Link)

Speech and slides of DIGNITAS (PDF)

8 October 2015

Five states permit doctors to help terminally ill patients end their lives, but Catholic hospitals still refuse to let their patients “die with dignity.”

Article by Katherine Stewart in «The Nation» (Link)

21 January 2015 / 4 June 2015 / 4 + 11 September 2015 / 5 October 2015

Californian State Senators Lois Wolk, Bill Monning and others, backed by Brittany Maynard’ family, introduced the ‘End of Life Option Act: modelled after the 1997 Oregon Dying with Dignity Act, the Bill would give a terminally ill, mentally competent adult resident in California, the right to ask and receive from his or her physician a prescription for a lethal drug to end his or her suffering.

Senate Bill SB-128 End of Life (Link to California Legislative Information)

On 4 June 2015, the Californian Senate passed the End of Life Option Act (SB 128) by 23 to 14 votes. The Bill thus moves on to a Commitee of the Californian House of Representatives (Link)

On 2 September 2015, the Public Health and Developmental Services Committee of the California Assembly approved of the California End of Life Option Act by 10 : 3 votes, and two days later the Assembly Finance Commitee by 5 : 3 votes. In a next step, the bill will be voted on by both houses of the California Legislature.

On 11 September, the End of Life Option Act (SB 128) was approved by 23 : 14 votes of the Senators after it was approved by 43 : 34 votes in the Assembly. The Bill only needs one more step which is the signature of Governor Jerry Brown.

Speech by Debby Ziegler, mother of Brittany Maynard who had to move from California to Oregon in order to make use of her right to end her suffering self-determinedly:

On 5 October 2015, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., a Catholic and former Jesuit seminarian, signed the End of Life Option Act. "I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn't deny that right to others." he wrote in his signing message. Thus, California becomes a further US-State in which terminally ill have freedom of choice to self-determinedly end their suffering with physician’s assessment and prescription of medication. The End of Life Option Act definetely took effect on 9 June 2016.

11 September 2015

The British Lower Chamber, the House of Commons, held an extensive debate on the Assisted Dying Bill introduced by Rob Marris. The proposed Bill was rejected by 330 against 118 votes.

Minutes of the debate in the House of Commons (PDF)

Dignitas is very disappointed that UK residents are still forced to travel to Dignitas. The 330 MPs who voted against the Assisted Dying Bill should be ashamed for their disgraceful ignorance towards the clear public opinion which is pro-choice in ‘last matters’, and even more so for forcing the people who elect them and pay taxes for them to go abroad when all they want is to have the basic human right of a self-determined, accompanied by loved ones and safe end of suffering.
Clearly, these 330 MPs do not respect what the European Court of Human Rights has ruled on January 20th, 2011 (application no. 31322/07, judgement Haas, paragraph 51):
In the light of this jurisdiction, the Court finds that the right of an individual to decide how and when to end his life, provided that said individual was in a position to make up his own mind in that respect and to take the appropriate action, was one aspect of the right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the Convention'
Dignitas sends a big Thank You to all of the 118 MPs who supported the Assisted Dying Bill. They show that there is humanism and there is hope to one day pass a Bill which will give people the freedom of choice they have been asking for decades.
The main aim of Dignitas is to disappear; for this, since 1998, Dignitas works for the worldwide implementation of ‘the last human right’ – which is free choice in end-of-life options and therefore includes access to an accompanied suicide. As soon as the UK and further countries implement what is sensible and humane – which is the Swiss thirty year practice in combining palliative care, suicide attempt prevention, advance directives and the right to choose in life and at life’s end – nobody from the UK or anywhere else will have to travel to Dignitas anymore and thus Dignitas will and can close down.

5 June 2015

Vincent Humbert may die – after seven years in coma

The European Court of Human Rights allows for the discontinuation of artificial nutrition and hydration

Judgment of the ECHR of 5 June 2015 in the case of Vincent Lambert and Others v. France, application no. 46034/14 (Link)

With this judgment, the ECHR unanimously ruled admissible the application of four family members of Vincent Lambert, as far as it concerned article 2 of the Convention; by 12:5 votes, the rest of the application was considered inadmissible. When considering the question whether discontinuing measures to keep Mr. Lambert alive would be permissible, the Court decided – again by 12:5 votes – that no violation of article 2 (right to life) would result from this. Therefore, the judgment of the French High Court, the Conseil d’État, can be implemented. This signifies that the life-sustaining measures of Vincent Lambert, who has been tetraplegic, fully dependent, artificially nourished and in persistent vegetative state (PVS) since a road accident on 29 September 2009 can be discontinued. The minority of five judges, from Azerbaijan, Slovakia, Georgian Republic, Malta and Moldavia, denied the Court the title “conscious of Europe” due to this judgment.

12 May 2015

Debate in Warsaw, Poland: „Eutanazja Powinna Zostać Zalegalizowana” with Prof. Tadeusz Bartoś, Maria Czubaszek, Dr. Kamil Sipowicz, Prof. Bogdan Chazan, John Godson and Łukasz P. Skurczyński. Moderator: Grzegorz Nawrocki. Presented by the Oxbridge Society of Poland

Video of the Debate (Link)

30 April 2015 / 25 May 2015

In a Court Order of 30 April 2015 and subsequent judgment of 4 May 2015, Judge Fabricius of the High Court of South Africa (North Gauteng High Court) ruled that Robert James Stransham-Ford, who was dying of prostate cancer and who had asked the Court to determine whether a doctor could legally assist him to end his life, should be permitted to do so.

Court Order of 30 April 2015 (PDF)

Judgment of 4 May 2015 (PDF)

Radio interview with Prof. Sean Davidson of Dignity SA South Africa (Link to ClassicFM)

18. July 2014 – 7 November 2014

The British Upper Chamber, the House of Lords, held an extensive debate on the Assisted Dying Bill by Lord Falconer. In this Second Reading with a record 126 speakers, the Bill was supported by 64 against 59 with 3 neutral and therefore it will move on to Committee Stage.

Minutes of the debate of 18 July 2014 (PDF)

Minutes of the debate of 7 November 2014 (Link)

20 August 2014

In Australia, Federal Greens Senator and former GP Dr Richard Di Natale, has tabled an exposure draft for national dying with dignity - legislation in the Australian Senate. The Senate has passed a motion to have that Bill considered by a Senate Inquiry. The Inquiry has called for submissions from the public on the Bill. Dignitas has handed in a submission.

Website of the Australian Parliament / Exposure Draft (Link)

Exposure Draft (Link to PDF)

Submission by DIGNITAS (PDF)

12 July 2014

“Physicians were once healers of life and easers of death. In the 20th century the training for the latter has been neglected.”

Read more of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in The Guardian (Link)

14 November 2013 – 6 June 2014

In Scotland, parliament member Margo MacDonald presented a revised proposal for an „Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill", to make it lawful, in certain circumstances, to assist another to commit suicide; and for connected purposes.
A Commitee called for written evidence. Dignitas has submitted a response.

Details of the Bill (Link to the website of the Scottish Parliament)

Speech of DIGNITAS at the press launch in Edinburgh: (PDF)

Campaign website (Link)

Response/submission (short version) by DIGNITAS (PDF)

Response/submission (full version) by DIGNITAS (PDF)

16 January 2014

The Cambridge Union Society – This House Would Legalise ‘Assisted Dying’

In this debate, the Union asks whether legalising assisted dying is moral, and whether sanctity or quality of life should be prioritised. The speakers in favour of freedom of choice in “last matters” win the debate by a clear 207 to 67 votes (with 54 abstaining). When will UK politicians listen?

16 April 2013

The Unitarian and Free Christian Churches support the Right to Die

The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches held 11 – 14 April 2013 agreed the following resolution:

That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, recognising the worth and dignity of all people and their freedom to believe as their consciences dictate, believes that:
1) any individual who faces an intolerable existence because of a debilitating and/or incurable physical condition should have the right to seek support for the termination of their life in a painless and dignified manner
2) legislation should respect their choice and allow them compassionate assistance in achieving such a death without fear of prosecution of anyone involved

Dignitas is delighted to have the support of the Unitarian and Free Christian Churches in our aim to enhance freedom of choice in 'the last human right'. Hopefully soon, no Briton needs to seek freedom in Switzerland anymore but may choose to have a self-determined and dignified end in life in the presence of loved ones at his or her own home.

Website of the Unitarian and Free Christian Churches (Link)

1 November 2012

Self-determination in the view of Europeans: The Swiss Medical Lawyers Association (SMLA) asked the renowned research institute ISOPUBLIC to carry out an extensive opinion poll, which analysed the position of the population in twelve European States on the issue of self-determination at the end of life

Website of the SMLA (Link)

Results of the opinion poll (PDF)

23 January 2012 / 1 May 2012

In Scotland, parliament member Margo Mac Donald lodged a proposal for a Bill, the „Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bil", to enable a competent adult with a terminal illness or condition to request assistance to end their own life, and to decriminalise certain actions taken by others to provide such assistance.

A consultation was held until 30 April 2012.

The proposed Bill includes elements of the practice of accompanied suicides in Switzerland as well as of the „Death with Dignity Act” of the US-State of Oregon.

Website of the Scottish Parliament with consultation document (Link)

Response/submission of DIGNITAS to the consultation (PDF)

5 January 2012

In England, The Commission on Assisted Dying, chaired by Lord Falconer and launched in November 2010, has published its final report

Website of the Commission on Assisted Dying (Link)

Submission of DIGNITAS to the Commission (PDF)

Final Report of the Commission on Assisted Dying (Link)

15 October 2011

A message from Samantha - who allowed us to publish it here:

From: Sam D. [mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]
Sent: Saturday, 8 October 2011 04:22
To: Dignitas
Subject: I don't know if you will read this or not but I just have a question…

Hello.. i'm hoping you speak english.. i came across your articles today because i am feeling utterly hopeless and think your view on assisted suicide for the mentally ill is phenomenal. I know a lot of people are against it and even think the thought of it is ridiculous.

If a person with severe depression is wanting to die and has tried literally everything (medication, therapy, holistic approaches, etc.) they should be able to have control of their own life. If I am just going to continue to try to kill myself why shouldn’t i be able to have help. If there is no help for the victim and all opportunities have been explored then why should i have to continue to suffer in agony.

Do i want to live in a hospital for the rest of my life? no... Do i want to be sedated and on like 5 different medications for the rest of my life? no. Tell me, how is that living.. nobody wants to live like that in constant pain and agony. I apologize for the horrid grammar but i just do not have the will to even use punctuation. I’ve been suffering for 10 years... do i deserve to suffer for the rest of my life?

You shed light on mental illness and i applaud you. That is all.

If you read my email i thank you greatly,

- Samantha

16 May 2011

The association „DIGNITAS – to live with dignity – to die with dignity“ expresses its heartfelt gratitude, in the name of all those individuals who need help today and in future, to the Zürich voters for their clear and liberal position in questions of assistance in dying, as expressed in the results of the vote of May 15, 2011. At the same time, DIGNITAS admonishes the authorities on federal and cantonal level to pay at last attention to the protection of human life where it is vulnerable to an exceptionally high degree.

Already in 2002, the Swiss Federal Council (the Swiss Government) explained that the yearly number of suicides in Switzerland counts up to 67.000 [see footnote 1] (which compares to the size of the population of cities like Luzern or St. Gallen or even to one third of the Canton of Basel-Stadt!). The number of suicide attempts is thus fifty times higher than the number of statistically registered suicides. Despite a postulate [see footnote 2] introduced by national council member Hans Widmer (SP, LU), the government did not undertake any actions to finally establish an effective suicide-attempt prophylaxis. Instead, since 2002, the government and the majority of the media depicted the justified and through associations carefully accompanied suicides in an impertinent, hyped and distorted way; entirely in ignorance of the real attitude of the large majority of the population.

DIGNITAS regards it as imperative to finally complement the efforts so far of preventing inconsiderate suicides (suicide prophylaxis) by a carefully thought-of policy of preventing suicide attempts (suicide-attempt prophylaxis).

[1] Answer of the Swiss Federal Council (Swiss Government) dated January 9, 2002, to the question of Andreas Gross regarding suicide and suicides attempts; www.parlament. ch/d/suche/seiten/geschaefte.aspx?gesch_id=20011105 (in German and French)

[2] Postulate Widmer, dated June 13, 2002, regarding suicide prevention; www.parlament. ch/D/Suche/Seiten/geschaefte.aspx?gesch_id=20023251 (in German and French)


Results of the vote according to the office of statistis of the Canton of Zürich


A quick glance into the media (Links):

swissinfo: Zurich voters reject ban on "suicide tourism"

Chicago Tribune: Zurich voters overwhelmingly decide to keep assisted suicide, reject ban on 'suicide tourism'

Irish Times: Voters reject suicide aid ban

The Independent: Swiss vote to continue assisted suicide

BBC News Europe: Zürich votes to keep assisted suicide

Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Absage an die Moralisten

Swiss Television DRS, Schweiz aktuell (starting at 08:00 minutes)

Tages Anzeiger: «Die Sektenbrüder wurden weggefegt»

Ärzte Zeitung: Bürger in Zürich lehnen Stopp der Sterbehilfe ab

Zürcher Oberländer: Deutliche Abfuhr für Sterbehilfe-Initiativen

frei denken: Klares Bekenntnis zur Sterbehilfe muss Vorgabe für EJPD sein

Blick: Weiterhin Sterbehilfe im Kanton Zürich

Swiss Television DRS, Tagesschau: Interview with Ludwig A. Minelli

tsr Les Zurichois refusent de limiter l'aide au suicide

Der Tagesspiegel: Abstimmung über Sterbehilfe in der Schweiz

Vedic Views on World News: Swiss say no to euthanasia restrictions

Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Klares Signal nach Bern

Freidenker-Vereinigung der Schweiz: Stopp dem religiösen Fundamentalismus

Swiss Television DRS: Ein Signal nach Bundesbern

20 April 2011

On 17 April 2011, an article entitled “Who is to judge which lives are worth living?” written by Barbara Ellen appeared in “The Observer”. Following is what two members of DIGNI- TAS wrote to the editor, whereby giving permission to DIGNITAS to publish their letter:

From: G.S. Burnett & M. Svanderlik
Sent: 18 April 2011 13:24:24
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Subject: Letters to the Editor


We must assume that Barbara Ellen ('Who is to judge which lives are worth living?') is not stupid; in which case, her thoughtless piece on assisted suicide is a disgrace to a serious newspaper and certainly no useful contribution to what is an important, contemporary debate. Ms Ellen confuses the issue by using the term, 'euthanasia' (literally "a good death") which, while technically encompassing both what we would call 'mercy killing' and 'assisted suicide', is commonly understood to mean the former, the termination of the life of another, in extremis, but without consent. This is highly tendentious and pollutes the current debate, which is principally about people's right to die when they choose, and to receive any necessary assistance to this end. To our knowledge, Terry Pratchett has never said or written anything that categorises the lives of others as "not worth living" and therefore eligible for termination. To associate his name with such a view is to vilify a wonderful writer with a fearful disease who is nobly and altruistically campaigning for the rights of others like him to end their days with dignity, at a time of their own choosing.

In imagining herself with "something nasty" (how belittling this is as a description of Alzheimer's Disease, as if it were diarrhoea or a boil) Ms Ellen opines: "The hope is that I'll choose."  Exactly so.  That is only what all the leaders of the current campaign are seeking: an individual's right to choose the point of his or her own death - acknowledged by the European Court of Human Rights, as recently as January this year, as an inalienable 'human right'. No-one is crusading for the introduction of mercy killing.

And to refer, en passant, to Ludwig Minelli, the prime mover behind DIGNITAS, as a "ghoul" is to defame a gentle, elderly lawyer who has given up what should have been his years of retirement and repose, to try to help relieve the appalling suffering of others. He is not a ghoul but an angel of compassion.

Ms Ellen's witless scaremongering has no place in The Observer; we suggest you point her in the direction of the Daily Mail or The Sun, where her ill-informed and odious posturing will seem less conspicuous.

Yours faithfully,

G.S. Burnett & M. Svanderlik
Proud, fully paid-up UK members of DIGNITAS

6 February 2015

In a unanimous 9:0 decision Canada’s Supreme Court has struck down the country’s Criminal Code laws prohibiting physician-assisted suicide. The rule will not come into force for another 12 months; however, it means it will no longer be against the law, under certain circumstances, for a doctor to help someone who is terminally ill to end their life.

A brief summary of the case by the BCCLA (Link)

Supreme Court judgment of Carter v. Canada (Link)

Media coverage (Link)


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