U.N. Human Rights Panel Wary of Euthanasia Law

Expresses Concern over Dutch Legislation

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GENEVA, JULY 29, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The U.N. Human Rights Committee expressed its «real concern» over the Dutch law that will legalize euthanasia as of Jan. 1.

The U.N. committee said it as a duty to speak out when a state «deliberately offers legal protection to acts that put an end to life.» In fact, the committee´s statement indicates it is mostly concerned that the law deals with euthanasia in a superficial way.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Vatican permanent observer at the United Nations in Geneva, said the U.N. panel´s statement is important because «great pressure is exerted on other states to follow the path undertaken by the Netherlands.»

«Moreover, it reaffirms the fact that the protection of human rights is a concern of the whole international community,» the archbishop told Vatican Radio.

Last Wednesday, French Health Minister Bernard Kouchner said he had no plans to legalize euthanasia despite having killed patients himself as a doctor serving in the war zones of Vietnam and Lebanon.

Kouchner, a co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), told a Dutch magazine that during his career as a doctor and aid worker he had helped end the lives of people who he claimed had no hope of survival.

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