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Jersey moves ahead with citizens’ jury to assess evidence on assisted dying

More than 4,500 residents have been invited to take part in Jersey’s citizens’ jury on assisted dying, as part of the island’s initiative to investigate the merits of a change in the law. Channel Islands Humanists has welcomed the announcement as a positive step forward towards a change in the law.

The jury, announced last year but delayed due to Covid-19, will comprise of 18-24 randomly selected members of the public, drawn from the 4,500 to be representative of the public at large. It will be tasked with reviewing in detail the evidence on assisted dying, and submitting a final recommendation to Jersey’s Assembly for debate. In a recent survey commissioned by End of Life Choices Jersey, Humanists UK’s partner in the Assisted Dying Coalition, up to 86% of islanders said they supported assisted dying for those facing incurable suffering, in at least some circumstances.

Channel Islands Humanists Chair Dave Crocker commented:

‘In a period when Covid-19 would have made it easy to allow initiatives such as this to fall by the wayside, Jersey’s Government should be congratulated for its commitment to citizenship engagement. Support for the legalisation of assisted dying has now reached a record high with nearly nine in ten people favouring a change in the law for both the terminally ill and incurably suffering, and a majority of medics favour reform too.

‘For too long, the law has been allowed to remain out of kilter with the public’s sentiment on assisted dying, and we hope this jury will set an example for lawmakers elsewhere in the UK and crown dependencies, encouraging them to now also engage with the evidence.’

Notes:

For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at press@humanists.uk or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Read Jersey’s Government press release

Read more about our campaign for assisted dying.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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