In recent years, the Paraguayan Congress has been discussing the possibility of establishing a legal framework for euthanasia. There has been no consensus between parties but the debate has sparked dissent within the population at large.
While the practice of euthanasia is often presented as a remedy for patients struggling with terminal illness who may feel like a weight or burden to those around them, the World Youth Alliance (WYA) White Paper proposes a dignity-respecting view of healthcare, emphasizing psychosocial care, stated as “the commitment to the whole person” stressing that “easing suffering must go beyond the management of physical pain. Depression in seriously ill patients has been connected with an increased desire for hastened death.”
In addition to the emphasis on psychosocial care, the White Paper strongly supports Palliative Care:
Strengthening such practices supports patients through a difficult time, while affirming their human dignity. Strong psychosocial and palliative care not only reduces patients’ desire for hastened death but serves to reshape our cultural perception of persons regardless of ability or stage in life.
Legally, international human rights are created by treaty and by custom. As there is no human rights treaty that includes a provision creating a “right to die” or a “right to assistance in dying”, there is no obligation for the state to create a legal framework for these practices. However, just as law influences culture, culture has the power to influence law.
Through education, the World Youth Alliance White Paper supports persons, families and regional cultures, by reminding us of what it is to be a human person, regardless of ability or stage in life. With this approach, freedom is understood not as license but as a responsibility to the sufferings of others as we stand in solidarity with all members of our society.
Published: September 26, 2019
Written by Bruno Manuel Sosa, a New York Advocacy intern alumni from Paraguay
WYA’s White Papers address the most significant topics in global policy discussions and in key international proposals. The White Paper on Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia will soon be available on the WYA website on September 27, 2019.