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Zurich to vote on 'suicide tourism' laws

Voters in Zurich are going to the polls to vote on the issue of assisted suicide – with many residents uncomfortable with so-called ‘suicide tourism’ resulting from other countries outlawing the practice.

Multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy holds her husband's hand. Purdy is noted for her campaign to change the laws of assisted death in the UK.
Multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy holds her husband's hand. Purdy is noted for her campaign to change the laws of assisted death in the UK.
Image: Clive Gee/PA Archive/Press Association Images

RESIDENTS IN THE Swiss city of Zurich are going to the polls this weekend over two issues relating to assisted suicide.

The first proposal, to ban the practice, is likely to be defeated. However, the second proposal – which would see assisted suicide limited to residents only – is expected to get greater support.

The BBC reports that some Swiss citizens are uncomfortable with the number of foreign citizens travelling to Switzerland to die as a result of the practice being outlawed in their home countries.

Opinion polls have indicated that the majority of Swiss citizens support the individual’s right to choose when to die, however 66 per cent do not approve of so-called ‘suicide tourism’.

“We cannot solve the dying problems of the rest of Europe,” Bernhard Sutter, of Switzerland’s biggest assisted suicide organisation Exit, said. ”And we think it is very sad that very ill people have to travel thousands of kilometres to go to a liberal country to die there”, reports Deutsche Welle.

Sutter added: “Those countries should solve their own problems with dying people. We would be happy if those countries – Germany, Britain, France – would change their laws and liberalize them.”

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