The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe has rejected a proposed resolution on euthanasia.
In a report drawn up in September 2003, Dick Marty, a Swiss, considered that euthanasia was commonly practised in hospitals today. He stated in particular that "no one had the right to force a dying person or a terminally ill patient to continue living in intolerable anxiety and suffering when they had repeated their desire to die".
The proposal was debated for nearly 4 years, during which numerous amendments were made. Recommendation 1418 (1999) whose principles are outlined below was recalled:
a) The right to life, especially with regard to a terminally ill or dying person, is guaranteed by the Member States;
b) A terminally ill or dying person's wish to die never constitutes any legal claim to die at the hand of another person;
c) A terminally ill or dying person's wish to die cannot of itself constitute a legal justification to carry out actions intended to bring about death.
Recommendation 1418 recognises that " the obligation to respect and to protect the dignity of a terminally ill or dying person derives from the inviolability of human dignity in all stages of life".
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe considered the definition of passive euthanasia employed by D. Marty to be misleading. It recalled the difference between euthanasia and ceasing aggressive therapy and stressed the importance of palliative care.