Swiss group examines possibility of offering end-of-life assistance to healthy elderly

2017-06-19 22:11:30 GMT2017-06-20 06:11:30(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

GENEVA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- A Swiss working group is looking into the possibility of offering assistance of leaving the world in a peaceful manner to elderly people who are still in good health but tired of life, according to EXIT, a Switzerland-based organization, on Monday.

The working group will discuss ethical, legal and political issues concerning the provision of assisted suicide to healthy people. When the report is concluded Exit will decide if it should take steps in that direction.

Switzerland is one of the few countries in the world where assisted suicide is legal, as long as the person giving such assistance receives no financial benefit from it.

Under the Swiss law, EXIT is helping those with incurable illnesses to end their lives, a way specifically committed to the human right of dignity and self-determination as is expressed in a living will or in a self-determined death.

According to the federal statistics office of Switzerland, some 742 cases of assisted suicide among Swiss residents were reported in 2014, which was 26 percent rise on 2013 and more than twice the figure in 2009. The vast majority of the cases were because of the suffering from cancer.

Exit's latest consideration of extending its remit to help the health elderly was a response to demands from a committee that included several Exit members aged 70 or older, who said it is currently too difficult for elderly people who are tired of life to get access to assisted suicide.

Founded in 1982, Exit currently only offers services to its members, who must be Swiss or have permanent residency in Switzerland.

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