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Government wants rules for assisted suicide

The cabinet wants to specify the responsibilities of employees of assisted suicide organisations as part of a draft law.

The justice ministry said it was mandated to revise specific nationwide regulations in response to numerous objections raised during the consultation procedure.

At the same time the interior ministry is to present its proposals for boosting suicide prevention and palliative care.

The cabinet on Friday reiterated the need for new guidelines and restrictions in an effort to tighten legislation on assisted suicide.

A majority of parties and organisations support a federal regulation, but there is no consensus over how assisted suicide should be governed, according to the statement.

Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland if carried out by a person without a vested interest in the death. However, controversy rages over a policy, by organisations including Exit and Dignitas, of encouraging foreigners to travel to Switzerland to end their lives.

A recent study by Zurich University found that most Swiss are in favour of assisted suicide, and would also support direct active euthanasia. However, two-thirds of respondents came out against the practice of “death tourism”.

Urs Geiser, and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR