Switzerland: should assisted suicide be included in the Geneva legislation?

Publié le 5 Apr, 2016

Socialist MP, Salima Moyard, has just filed a draft bill to guarantee the right to assisted suicide in private and public medical establishments and in EMS (Medical-Social Establishments) in the Canton of Geneva.


Without providing any further details, Federal legislation guarantees the right to self-determination and does not repress “assisted suicide for an altruistic reason” but the latter is not an intrinsic part of the Geneva legislation. In the canton institutions, assisted suicide depends “on the goodwill of every individual involved”.


To end the freedom of choice as to whether or not the Geneva institutions should practice euthanasia, Salima Moyard has compiled this draft bill, based on Vaud’s Law, pointing out the increasing number of people turning to assisted suicide associations “given the increase in life expectancy and scientific progress in particular”.


According to her, “a refusal to legislate would equate to willingly perpetuating a grey area given the social taboo surrounding death”, whereas legislation would provide greater clarity.


In the light of this recent question to the Valais legislature, the refusal to legislate euthanasia in the canton, albeit with a slight majority, offsets the risk of “trivialising the act”.


As for the institutions involved, they believe that “legislation is not vital”. As far as Nicolas Walder, President of the Geneva Federation of Medical and Social Establishments is concerned, the system is working.Those EMS refusing to practise euthanasia have clearly informed their residents who are free to choose another establishment. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that “this sector employs various management strategies with basic principles”. This is also corroborated by the Private Clinic Association which stresses “the importance of respecting the institutional and private freedom of each establishment”and does consider restrictive regional legislation to be relevant.



Tribune de Genève (06/04/2016)

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