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Zurich has always been famous for its banking. But now it's famous for something else: helping people to kill themselves.
About 200 people commit assisted suicide each year in Zurich, including many foreigners, particularly from Germany, France and the UK.
These are people who are so unhappy – whether through emotional or physical pain – that they wish to bring their life to an end. To help someone commit suicide is illegal in most countries; not in Switzerland.
Not all Swiss are happy about it. Some groups, concerned about the so-called 'suicide tourism', have attempted to limit the practice to those resident in the country. And demanded a longer time for 'preparation'.
At present, Zurich's Dignitas clinic offers something very immediate. Clients see a doctor and are helped to die all in the same day.
The normal method of death is an oral dose of an antiemetic drug followed 30 minutes later by a lethal overdose of powdered Nembutal dissolved in a glass of water or in fruit juice.
Preparation and death cost £3,182, and over 1000 people have so far used this clinic to end their life.
But plans to limit assisted dying to Swiss residents have just been rejected at the polls. Some 85% of voters opposed a ban on assisted suicide and 78% opposed outlawing it for foreigners.
Bernhard Sutter, vice-president of Zurich-based Exit organisation, which assists Swiss people to die, said the result showed Swiss voters believed in 'self-determination at the end of life'.
Switzerland is not the only country to allow assisted death. In the Netherlands, doctor-assisted suicide was legalised in 2002. This change followed two decades when the practice was known to be common but remained unregulated.
Now, in a population of 17 million, about 2,300 Dutch people annually opt to die by assisted suicide.
Wrong – or a right?
Some call it 'assisted suicide'. Others prefer 'assisted dying', 'mercy killing' or 'death with dignity'. Others still call it 'self-murder'. Each phrase reflects a different take on this controversial practice.
Many religions, such as Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam declare life to be sacred and believe all suicide is wrong. Some even judge it to be equal to murder.
But the recent Swiss vote confirms their belief that everyone has the right to die when, where and how they wish without reference to other people's beliefs.
Whatever our beliefs, it is not a story with a happy ending.
1. Suicide – a human right or a human wrong?
2. 'My life, my death' says the pro-assisted suicide placard. But is it just mine? Are the feelings of friends and family important in the decision?
1. Class discussion: 'Who - if anyone – should be allowed to kill themselves?'
2. A friend of yours is deeply unhappy. They say there is no way forward but to kill themselves. You decide to write a letter to them. What do you say?
Fascinating video clip from the debate in Oregon, where assisted dying is legal.
Some concerns about the legalisation of 'assisted dying' in the UK.
This is Dying Matters Awareness week. And here are some comedians joking about it.
The British Humanist Society speak about their support for assisted dying.
The BBC asks how the Swiss vote might affect the UK debate.
Q Which other countries allow assisted suicide?
A Belgium and the two American states of Oregon and Washington. In the UK it's illegal.
Q Is assisted suicide the same as euthanasia?
A Not quite. Euthanasia means taking deliberate action, such as an injection or withdrawing medical treatment to end another person's life. Assisted suicide means providing the means – the medicine, for instance – to allow a patient to end their own life.
Q Why are more people seeking their own death?
A One reason is that people are living longer in the West. Old people and their families are the most likely to face difficult choices about quality of life – living with extreme pain for example – versus sheer survival.
Q And unassisted suicide?
A Over one million people commit suicide every year. The World Health Organisation says it's the 13th-leading cause of death worldwide; and 6th-highest in the USA.
'Let nature take its course.'
Government & Politics, PSHE, Religious Studies & Ethics