Minister against "death tourism"

Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf says she would like to put a stop to "death tourism" – the practice of people travelling to Switzerland to die.

This content was published on July 13, 2008 - 13:57

Swiss law tolerates assisted suicide when the patient commits the act and the helper has no direct interest. Several organisations offer the service, but only one group to foreigners.

"Today somebody can come to Switzerland and already the next day can have an assisted suicide through one of these assisted suicide organisations. This should not be possible," Widmer-Schlumpf told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

The minister would like to introduce a period of reflection between the first contact made with an organisation and an assisted suicide. During this time the person would undergo counselling from the organisation or third party.

Widmer-Schlumpf also called for assisted suicide groups to be financially transparent and to ensure that they had the necessary documents. She also criticised the use of helium for deaths.

Her remarks come after the government announced earlier this month that it would be reviewing the rules for assisted suicide.

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