Archbishop Desmond Tutu
South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu has revealed that he wants to have the option of an assisted death.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and anti-apartheid campaigner said that he did “not wish to be kept alive at all costs”, writing in the Washington Post newspaper on his 85th birthday.
Mr Tutu came out in favour of assisted dying in 2014, without specifying if he personally wanted to have the choice.
He was hospitalised last month for surgery to treat recurring infections.
I hope I am treated with compassion and allowed to pass on to the next phase of life’s journey in the manner of my choice,” Mr Tutu wrote.
“Regardless of what you might choose for yourself, why should you deny others the right to make this choice?
“For those suffering unbearably and coming to the end of their lives, merely knowing that an assisted death is open to them can provide immeasurable comfort.”
There is no specific legislation in South Africa governing assisted dying.
But in a landmark ruling in April 2015, a South African court granted a terminally ill man the right to die, prompting calls for a clarification of the laws in cases of assisted death.
- Born 1931
- 1970s: Became prominent as apartheid critic
- 1984: Awarded Nobel Peace Prize
- 1986: First black Archbishop of Cape Town
- 1995: Appointed head of Truth and Reconciliation Commission
- Became a fierce critic of South Africa’s ANC
- Supports assisted dying for the terminally ill