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Number of official assisted suicides in Belgium 2002-2018

Active euthanasia was decriminalized in Belgium in May 2002. Since then, the Federal Commission in charge of controlling the law's application has registered a growing number of declarations. Euthanasia exceeded a thousand yearly cases in Belgium by 2011 and two thousand cases per year in 2015. As of March 2020, Belgium is one of the only three European countries where euthanasia is legal, along with the Netherlands and Luxembourg. From 2002 to 2018, over 12 thousand people have been officially euthanized in Belgium.

Current legislation of euthanasia in Belgium

In 2018, roughly 2,4 thousand people underwent what can be called as assisted suicide in Belgium. Legally, a condition for active euthanasia in Belgium is that the illness of a demander must be terminal and that they must be in great pain, with no available treatment to alleviate their distress. The most common illnesses that lead to such a demand are cancers or multiple pathologies.

Belgium and assisted suicide for minors

In 2014, the Belgian Senate extended the law on euthanasia to terminally ill children. Belgium was then the only country in Europe where euthanasia was open to minors. However, according to the federal commission in charge of evaluating the practice of euthanasia in the country, no minor had been euthanized in 2018. Most cases occur in a population aged 60 to 89 years old. Nonetheless, these numbers represent only the official cases registered. Such a practice, and all the taboo it conveys, implies the existence of unofficial cases. Belgium notably held the fifth position of European countries for its number of suicide casualties in 2016. Furthermore, most euthanasia procedures in Belgium took place in the patient’s home in 2018.

Number of registered euthanasia instances in Belgium from 2002 to 2018

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Source

Release date

February 2019

Region

Belgium

Survey time period

2002 to 2018

Supplementary notes

The figures have been taken from several publications.

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