Many people think that each person has the right to control his or her body and life and so should be able to determine at what time, in what way and by whose hand he or she will die. Behind these lies the idea that human beings should be as free as possible and that unnecessary restraints on human rights are a bad thing. Besides, there is a notion that human beings are independent biological entities, with the right to take and carry out decisions about themselves, providing the greater good of society doesn’t prohibit this. Allied to this is a firm belief that death is the end. In a nutshell, this signifies that human beings have the Right to die when and how they want to. Other human rights imply a right to die. Without creating (or acknowledging) a specific right to die, it is possible to argue that other human rights ought to be taken to include this right. The Right to Life includes the Right to die: The right to life is not a right simply to exist. The right to life is a right to life with a minimum quality and value. Death is the opposite of life, but the process of dying is part of life. People have the right to try and make the events in their lives as good as possible. So, they have the right to try to make their dying as good as possible. If the dying process is unpleasant, people should have the right to shorten it, and thus reduce the unpleasantness. People also have obligations – to their friends and family, to their doctors and nurses, to society in general.
Pranay Prakash, Assistant Professor, Unitedworld School of Law (UWSL)
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