• Euthanasia and the Right to Life in the Netherlands:. Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?

Lambert Academic Publishing
Publication date:

(Demola Okeowo, LL.B, BL, LL.M, has written several articles which have been published in reputable journals and has attended several local and international conferences on topical issues in International Law. His research areas are: International Human Rights Law; International Humanitarian Law as well as Immigration, Refugee and Asylum Law.)


One issue that has generated so much debate as to its compatibility with the right to life is euthanasia. Euthanasia has a robust database of record in history. It is the ‘intentional’ shortening of a patient’s life by an act or omission as part of his medical care. Whether this practice is legal or justifiable still remains an object of controversy in different countries of the world. The issue however is different in the Netherlands where euthanasia has been legally supported provided that it is carried out within the ambit of a local law enacted for that purpose. Much has been written on euthanasia and its compatibility with the right to life and the debate it has generated is inexhaustible. The practice of euthanasia in the Netherlands may be arguably reasonable in deserving cases. However, its aim is to ‘terminate’ and not to ‘protect’ life. This work therefore concludes that the legalization of euthanasia in the Netherlands when considered on technical grounds, and casting away all sentiments, is nothing but a violation of the sacred provisions of the right to life as contained in the ECHR and ICCPR to which the Netherlands is a party.

MATERIAS: Human rights, euthanasia, Right to Life, Sanctity of Life, Assisted Suicide, Right to die, Health Law