A Right to Dignity

Tying in with our ongoing debate on the Charter of Rights, two cases currently in the media evidence the absence in that debate of one right that some would describe as the most fundamental of all Human Rights – the right to die with dignity.

While the parents of a 11-month old child, who “is fed through a tube because she cannot suck from a bottle and she needs a constant supply of oxygen”, await a court ruling on medical advice not to resuscitate her again, an Irishman with a terminal illness is planning to fly to Switzerland where he intends to chose a medically assisted death at a time of his own choosing.(free reg may be required)

In one case, the parents and medical staff are forcing a judge to make the decision for them and, in the other, the individual is absenting himself from a jurisdiction that ignores his situation to one where he believes his right is acknowledged.

If the Charter is to address the individual’s fundamental human rights, then surely this right must be at least debated – or is it still a ‘right’ too far for this society?

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