The human right is to live, not to demand death

In a recent opinion piece arguing pro euthanasia in Tasmania, two human rights, dignity and privacy, were joined to argue for the human right to demand death; ‘dignified death is a right’.

This conclusion is not just contrary to the right to life but it runs counter to the whole flow of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is about life, about living. The human right is to live, not to demand death.

The opinion piece raises a more general issue which concerns the effectiveness of a charter or bill of human rights to protect and promote human rights in Australia. The use of the Declaration of Human Rights to demand a right which was neither included nor I suggest intended, moves me from my fence sitting on the need for a charter or bill of human rights in Australia to deep concerns about having such a charter. If the Universal Declaration on Human Rights can be used to join two rights which have nothing to do with demanding death to argue for the right to demand death, then I for one am deeply disturbed at our having such a charter or bill.

I do not want to see the legal captivity of ‘unintended human rights’.

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