Paris, November 2008
Dear Jean-Luc, dear Elke, dear Jacqueline, dear participants to the Right to Die - World Congress, Unfortunately, due to the Congress of Radicali italiani, which is happening exactly in the same days, we - as Nonviolent Radical Party, Radicali italiani and Associazione Luca Coscioni - cannot be with you in Paris today for your important Congress.
Nonetheless, we have been together some time ago for the conference that the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats has hosted in the European Parliament, entitled "Medically Assisted Dying and Euthanasia - a matter of human rights".
As you will recall, that conference has been an important moment from different perspectives: it was the first event of this relevance in the European Parliament, bringing together so many people from different countries and from different fields, from politicians to legal experts, from bio-ethicists to witnesses, from NGOs to citizens. We have discussed and analysed the situation in those States that have legalized euthanasia as well as in those that have not, and the respective consequences. We have evaluated legal reports underlining how assisted dying and euthanasia are in full conformity with Conventions on human rights. We have drafted a resolution / declaration going further, affirming that fully recognising the right to dignity leads to regulation and legalization of end of life decisions and euthanasia.
Your contribution to that conference has been fundamental. You have provided participants with your experience on the field of campaigning for the right to die in dignity, and you have provided us with suggestions on the declaration / resolution, which participants to the Conference have officially endorsed. At the same time we continue the campaign to get to a legal recognition of living wills and for the right to die in dignity. As you will imagine, we have as adversaries on this campaign in Italy the Vatican and their "representatives" in the Italian Parliament, both in the majority and in the opposition. Some important judicial developments have taken place, starting with the case of Piero Welby (our Co-President) and Eluana Englaro - but the regime and its representatives are still trying to block any change, including by taking jurdicial and legislative action. The public opinion is with us - and any support from international campaigners is welcome.
I believe that something that is needed, and on which the World Federation could be active, is to launch a network of legislators, Ministers, Political Party leaders, but also actors, directors, university professors at the international, European and national level, to bring together their energies for a European and international campaign, aimed at raising awareness and build public and political support for change.
Dear friends, we shall work together to do this. The work ahead of us is huge! I wish you, together with my friends from the Nonviolent Radical Party and the Association Luca Coscioni I have the honour to chair, to have a productive conference and lets' campaign together on medically assisted dying and euthanasia - which is first of all a matter of human rights!
Regards, Marco Cappato, MEP, Nonviolent Radical Party, Luca Coscioni Association