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Christian leaders unite to oppose assisted suicide in Guernsey

A walk along the high street on the island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands (Getty Images)

More than 50 church leaders on the island of Guernsey have united to write an open letter opposing attempts to introduce assisted suicide.

Representatives from 41 churches warned of the ‘danger’ of such a measure, saying it would pose a threat to the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable people.

“We believe the proposal to introduce a legal provision for assisted dying to be misplaced and indeed a danger for us as a community, particularly for the most vulnerable in our island,” the letter said.

“We believe the States of Guernsey should focus on the care of vulnerable people, support the Les Bourgs Hospice, increase mental health provision and care well for those with age-related dementia. As a community we need to celebrate and support all of life and not actively seek to terminate life.”

“We fully support the care that our wonderful nurses, doctors, specialists and those in the caring professions provide on the island.”

Local newspaper Guernsey Press reports that among the signatories is John Guille, chairman of Les Bourgs Hospice, along with members of the Catholic, Anglican and Methodist churches.

The island’s parliament, known as the States of Guernsey, will debate the measure on May 16. If the island passes the measure, it will be the first place in the British Isles to legalise assisted suicide.

The island of Guernsey is a British Crown Dependency with a population of 63,000, situated off the coast of northern France. It relies on the UK government for foreign relations and defence, but is otherwise largely self-governing.