Colombian child euthanasia policy criticized at Human Rights Council

On Friday Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach [MCCL GO] criticized Colombia’s euthanasia policy at a meeting of the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Council conducts a Universal Periodic Review of all nations to determine whether they are keeping their human rights commitments. MCCL GO earlier submitted a written contribution to the review of Colombia. In Friday’s session on Colombia, we were unable to present our oral statement due to time limitations, but member nations still received it.

Earlier this year, Colombia passed a resolution expanding its euthanasia policy to children. Children as young as 6 years old may seek euthanasia. And children over the age of 14 may receive euthanasia without the consent of their parents.

This is very, very troubling. The immaturity of children inhibits their ability to make sound decisions and give proper consent. The UN Human Rights Committee has in the past objected to the euthanasia policy in the Netherlands, where children as young as 12 may receive lethal injections.

“The Committee considers it difficult to reconcile a reasoned decision to terminate life with the evolving and maturing capacities of minors,” the Committee wrote. “In view of the irreversibility of euthanasia and assisted suicide, the Committee wishes to underline its conviction that minors are in particular need of protection.”

Likewise, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child wrote in 2015 that it “remains concerned that euthanasia [in the Netherlands] can be applied to patients under 18 years of age.”

These concerns are fully warranted, and Colombia’s new policy of child euthanasia is even more extreme. The human rights concerns surrounding Colombia’s policy cannot be ignored.

The Declaration of the Rights of the Child says that “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection.” Children must be protected.