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Jersey Youth Assembly opposes assisted dying

Young people have been sharing their thoughts on allowing assisted dying in Jersey. It is one of the topics students debated at this year's Youth Assembly.

The island's politicians are due to vote in May on proposals published last week for an assisted dying service in Jersey.

A scrutiny panel is currently looking into ministers' plans and checking if adequate safeguards are in place.

During a Youth Assembly debate and mock vote yesterday (26 March), some aspiring politicians raised concerns over potential coercion, conflict with religious beliefs and a contradiction with the Hippocratic Oath - the promise made by doctors to provide the most appropriate care and uphold ethical standards,

Others among the Year 13 students were in favour of legalising assisted dying, saying it could bring peace for family members and the terminally ill  and could be a way to respect both compassion and autonomy. 

Read more: Jersey's assisted dying plans revealed.

Hautlieu student Maria Stugariu, who raised the issue in the Youth Assembly, said: 

"The central reason why Jersey should legalise euthanasia centres around the principles of compassion, autonomy, and alleviating suffering.

"A change in law would highlight the importance of personal choice in matters of life and death, respect the dignity of individuals facing incurable and unbearable suffering, and provide a humane option for ending such suffering."

The Youth Assembly's mock vote, which does not influence any political decisions, resulted in the euthanasia proposal being rejected. 

Members voted down the suggestion, 9 votes in favour to 5 against, with one abstention.

Members of the Youth Assembly also had an opportunity to question politicians, including Housing Minister Sam Mézec.

The deputy asked whether he would consider lowering the age islanders can sign up for social housing to 18.

The Minister said: "I'm planning on making changes to our rental laws to give tenants greater security in their homes, prevent unfair evictions and protect them from excessive rent increases. 

"I'm also reducing the age in which islanders can access social housing. I recently reduced the maximum age limit to 20 years old and will reduce it to 25 by the end of this year."

The Youth Assembly also asked Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham about potentially changing abortion regulations and quizzed the Minister for Justice and Home Affairs Mary Le Hegarat about tougher sentences for repeat offenders.

Students from Beaulieu, JCG and Hautlieu schools also debated and approved phasing out vaping, introducing mandatory education the age of 18, and whether tourism should be better supported by taxing finance companies. 

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