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The state is also required to investigate suspicious deaths and deaths in custody. These are rights that can never be interfered with by the state. There are situations, however, when it does not apply. Of course, even in these circumstances, the force used must be essential and strictly proportionate.

Death penalty a 'grave' violation of human right to life, pope says

Due to limited resources, the state might not always be able fulfil this obligation. This could mean, for example, that the state does not have to provide life-saving drugs to everyone in all circumstances.

Assisted suicide : The Life and Death of Gloria Taylor - the fifth estate

A social worker from the domestic violence team in a local authority used human rights arguments to get new accommodation for a woman and her family at risk of serious harm from a violent ex-partner. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which the penalty is provided by law.

Right to Life - Definition

Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this Article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:. A woman suffering from an incurable degenerative disease wanted to control when and how she died. To avoid an undignified death, she wanted her husband to help her take her life.

She sought assurance that he would not be prosecuted, but the European Court of Human Rights found that the right to life does not create a right to choose death rather than life. It meant there was no right to die at the hands of a third person or with the assistance of a public authority.

There is no us or me without dignity, or botho or ubuntu, as referred to in the Sesotho and Nguni language groups in South Africa. The right of every person to inherent dignity and to have this right respected and protected forms one of the founding values on which the post-apartheid and democratic society of South Africa is founded.


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According to him, the rights to dignity and life are the source of all other rights. Notwithstanding the importance of human dignity and life as values and rights, many people, due to disease mental and physical or violations of their human rights in the most intrusive and brutal manner, such as sexual violence and sustained psychological assaults, end up taking their lives and some do so in painful and traumatic ways.

The law and societal norms and morality generally neither favour nor support suicide and, more so, the assistance given by others to such an act. There are a few countries, however, such as Canada and the Netherlands, where euthanasia is allowed and there are others, such as Germany and the Netherlands, where assisted suicide is also allowed.

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The negative attitude towards suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia, while understandable from a religious and cultural point of view, is difficult to understand and accept from a human rights perspective, with the right to dignity in mind, in particular. These provisions provide a basis for a more enlightened and progressive approach to these issues. There are a number of reasons that inform this view:. The law already allows individuals to take their own lives and does not punish those who fail in an attempt to do so.


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Punishing those who assist those wishing to take their lives, more so in the context of terminal illness and unbearable pain, is illogical to say the least. Prohibiting euthanasia negates human rights provisions in the Constitution pertaining to human dignity and the right of individuals to security and control over their bodies. The reasons for not changing the current prohibitive law regarding euthanasia, such as the possibility of abuse due to family pressures motivated by financial challenges, do not justify the prohibition and its blanket application as a response to a problem that can be regulated by good controls.

These controls would include, for example, approval of euthanasia by a panel of physicians — one of the requirements in some of the countries where euthanasia is already permitted. The issue of cultural and religious concerns as a basis for not permitting euthanasia has the effect of imposing those views on the whole of society.