The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

‘No remedy for death’, says Caritas on Euthanasia debate

Event date: 
02 Nov 2016

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has spoken out today in opposition to assisted suicide in an oral submission to the Health Select Committee looking into attitudes towards euthanasia.

Drawing on its experiences working with disempowered communities in New Zealand and abroad, the social justice agency highlighted the issue of powerlessness as a major concern in the debate around the introduction of legislation allowing assisted suicide.

“We must be absolutely certain that the powerlessness, exploitation and lack of choice that many New Zealanders face in homes, workplaces and communities is not present in the hour of their death,” says Caritas Director Julianne Hickey.

“An unfair employment situation may be compensated; a tenant may have home repair issues resolved; a person living with violence may be able to be removed to a safe place.  But an unfair or pressured decision to end someone’s life cannot be resolved, because there is no remedy for death.”  

Pointing to New Zealand’s high levels of child, sexual and elder abuse as examples of the many situations of powerlessness in families, Mrs Hickey said Caritas did not believe sufficient protections could be put in place to protect the lives of the most vulnerable people.

“Those same power imbalances are present when people are sick and in pain,” says Mrs Hickey.  

“We are here to remind you of these people,” she told members of the Health Select Committee. “These are the faces and the voices that you must see as you consider the question of assisted suicide.”

More equitable access to quality palliative and healthcare and support was offered in the submission as a more suitable approach to the issue, so as to ensure everyone is able to receive the support they need at the end of their lives.

Other media releases

Climate change – the ultimate intergenerational issue

Caritas welcomes a new report, Stepping stones to Paris and beyond: Climate change, progress and predictability published by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wrig

Powering remote Pacific communities with renewable innovations

While we in New Zealand are fortunate enough to have electricity at the flick of a switch, hundreds of remote communities around the Pacific have little access to electricity and must rely on small

Caritas calls for halt to deep sea mining

Speaking in New York at an event associated with a United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Goals, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, Julianne Hickey, called for

Sign up to the caritas monthly e-newsletter:

Tutu ana te puehu - Stirring up the dust