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Statutes of the World Federation

World Federation of Right to Die Societies


1.    Name and headquarters

Article 1.

World Federation of Right to Die Societies (hereinafter the Federation) is a non-profit association under the provisions of Articles 60 et seq. of the Swiss Civil Code.

The Federation was formed to continue and further develop the activities previously carried on by World Federation of Right to Die Societies Ltd., a Not-for-Profit New York Registered Corporation, and as such its legal successor.

The Federation is independent of any government, political party, ideological or religious group. 

Article 2.

The Federation’s seat is Geneva, Switzerland.


2.    Aims

Article 3.

The Federation, being a worldwide umbrella organization of societies which advocate a self-determined and dignified end of life, shall promote in a comprehensive and integrated way recognition of the end of life as a phase in which individuals should have the freedom to make choices, to decide for themselves, and request and obtain all appropriate care ranging from optimal palliative care to assisted dying, by

·         Collecting international data on self-determination issues in regard to end-of-life decisions;

·         Disseminating such information and educational materials to both members and interested parties   by maintaining a website and by any other methods of communication;

·         Arranging co-operation and liaison between member societies;

·         Organizing meetings of the General Assembly;

·         Facilitating international conferences on end-of-life issues and assisted dying;

·         Participating in international activities concerning the objectives of the Federation;

·         Providing assistance, where requested, to groups and individuals interested in establishing new societies with similar objectives;

·         Responding to requests by interested groups, scholars and others for information about end-of-life and assisted dying issues.


3.    Resources

Article 4.

The Federation's resources shall come from: membership fees, donations, legacies, private and public grants, and any other resources authorized by law. The funds shall be used in conformity with the Federation's overall aims.


4.    Membership

Article 5.

The Federation shall comprise members and associate members.

4.1.      Members

Article 6.

Membership shall comprise organizations who

a.    are in agreement with the aims of the Federation (article 3 of these Statutes)

b.    declare their interest in membership of the Federation by application

c.    have either members or supporters and a Board or Committee which performs executive functions; and

d.    pay membership fees.

Applications for membership shall be addressed to the Secretary of the Federation, which shall put the request to the following meeting of the Committee. The Committee shall decide whether or not to grantinterim membership of the applicant until the nextGeneral Assembly, which will decide about definite membership. 

Membership fees – determined biennially by the Committee and approved by the General Assembly - shall be payable for the calendar year, 1st January to 31st December. The amount of the membership fee due from a member society admitted between biennial meetings shall be determined by the Committee on a pro rata base.


Membership shall cease either by written notification of resignation, or by exclusion

a.    notification of resignation has to be sent to the Secretary;

b.    exclusion may be ordered by the Committee, for just cause, with a right of appeal to the General Assembly;

c.    unless otherwise decided by the Committee exclusion from membership shall be automatic for non-payment of membership fees before the end of December in the year they are due.

Members who have resigned or who have been excluded are liable for payment of the fees for the period of their membership and shall have no rights to any part of the Federation's assets.

4.2    Associate members

Article 7.

Subject to approval by the Committee of each application Associate Membership shall be open to all organizations or societies whose primary focus is not related to end-of-life issues, but who support the aims of the Federation.

Membership fees for Associate members shall be determined every two years at the General Assembly.

In contrast to Members, Associate Members shall not have voting rights; otherwise similar rules regarding application and cessation of Membership apply to Associate Members as to Members.


5.    Liability

Article 8.

The Federation’s assets may be only used for obligations/commitments contracted in its name. Members shall have no individual responsibility for the financial commitments of the Federation.


6.    Organization

Article 9.

The Federation's organs shall be:

1)   The General Assembly (GA)

2)   The Committee

3)   The Auditor

6.1    General Assembly

Article 10.

The General Assembly (hereinafter GA) shall be the Federation's supreme authority. The GA shall be composed of representatives from all Federation members.

The GA is considered to be open for non-members, unless the President decides otherwise.

Article 11.

The GA shall

a.    decide on any modification of the Statutes;

b.    take decisions on membership;

c.    elect the President and  members of the Committee, to hold office until the next meeting of the GA;

d.    delegate to the Committee all responsibilities for the good conduct of the Federation’s  business;

e.    mandate the President to represent the Federation on all matters;

f.     vote on the adoption of the reports and financial statements for the previous two calendar years;

g.    approve the financial budget for the next two years;

h.   appoint an auditor for the Federation's accounts;

i.     decide on  the annual membership and associate membership fees;

j.     undertake any other business of which due notice has been given in accordance with article 12; and

k.    decide on the dissolution of the Federation.

Article 12.

The Committee calls the Assembly for meeting.

The GA shall be held biennially once every even year in such location as is determined by the Committee. It may also meet in extraordinary sessions whenever deemed necessary by a decision of the Committee, or at the written request sent to the Secretary of one-fifth of the membership.

Place, date and time of the GA shall be decided by the Committee and notified to all members at least six months prior to the date of the meeting. Any member wishing to propose a motion for discussion at the GA, put forward nominations and details of any matter they wish to have discussed, must give written notice to the Committee at least ten weeks prior to the date fixed for the GA meeting and the Committee shall circulate the agenda together with all relevant documents to all members at least six weeks prior to the date fixed for the meeting.

Members will be represented by one individual, authorized by the member society to act as their delegate and vote on their behalf.

The GA shall be deemed lawful if a quorum of a majority of the membership is met, by presence of delegates or by proxy.  Each delegate shall have one vote and each proxy shall have one vote for each member that the delegate represents.

An individual holding a proxy cannot represent more than three members at any GA in addition to representing his or her own society. To be eligible to vote as a proxy the member appointed as such must have lodged with the Secretary a proxy authorized by the member giving it not later than half an hour before the start of the GA. Proxies given must enable the proxy holder the power to vote and speak on all resolutions at the GA as the proxy holder decides best. Specific proxy forms will be part of the written communication documents for each GA.

An emergency motion may be presented at the GA by a member society but can only be debated and voted upon if the Committee decides to accept the emergency motion for debate or if not less than two-thirds of the members present at the GA (excluding members represented by proxy) agree that the emergency motion should be debated and voted upon at the meeting.

Motions supported by written consent of all Federation members are equivalent to a decision of the GA.

Article 13.

The President of the Federation or a member of the Committee delegated by the President shall chair the GA.

Article 14.

Decisions of the GA shall be taken by a majority vote of the members present orrepresented by valid proxy. In the case of a tie vote, the President shall have a casting vote.

Decisions concerning modification of the Statutes of the Federation require the approval of a two-thirds majority of the members present or represented by proxy; when the decision concerns dissolution of the Federation such decision requires an attendance at a GA of two-thirds of the members, represented either in person or by valid proxy and a two-thirds majority If at a GA, where dissolution was proposed by the Committee, these criteria are not met, the Committee shall convoke a new GA at which the decision to dissolve the Federation may be taken by a majority vote (50% +1).

Votes will be taken by a raising of hands, unless one-fifth of the attending members ask for written voting. If the vote concerns individuals, voting must always be in writing.

6.2    Committee

Article 15.
The Committee shall be composed of a minimum of three (3) and a maximum of five (5) members, which shall include the offices of President, Secretary and Treasurer.
Committee members shall be recruited from the membership of Member Societies, through nomination or co-option. They will be elected for a period of two years and shall not serve more than three consecutive terms. A Committee member that – through co-optation by the Committee - fills a vacancy occurred in between two GA’s shall serve until the next GA.For the offices of President and Treasurer persons will be elected to those specific roles by the delegates, present at the GA.

Decisions of the Committee shall be taken by a majority vote of the members present. Committee meetings require a quorum of three to take binding decisions. In case of a tie vote, the President shall have a casting vote.

Article 16.

The Committee is delegated by the GA to carry out all acts that further the purposes of the Federation. The Committee shall be authorized to manage the

Federation's business, including opening and closing bank accounts.

The Federation is legally bound by the individual signature of the President or by the individual signature of the Treasurer.

The President represents the Federation generally in all other matters.

The Committee may decide to refer specific tasks to a group which it selects from either members or experts on the issues concerned.

The Treasurer is responsible for oversight of, and reporting on the finances of the Federation.

Should a vacancy occur before the following GA, the Committee shall be authorized to co-opt an individual, recruited from the membership of a member Society, to be a member of the Committee and hold office until the next GA.

The Committee shall meet at least twice every year. Meetings may be held either in person or by way of electronic communication.

Article 17.

Committee members shall act voluntarily and shall not be compensated, except for documented expenses incurred.

Article 18.

Members of governing bodies of the Federation will never be held liable (personally or financially) for actions resulting from activities undertaken by the Federation.

6.4    Auditor

Article 19

The auditor appointed by the GA shall audit the Federation's accounts every year.

Article 20.

The budget and financial accounting shall follow the calendar year, i.e. shall begin on the 1st of January and end on the 31st of December of each year. 

The audited accounts of the Federation for the previous year will be supplied with a yearly activity report by the Committee to all member societies no later than the last day of May each year.


7      Dissolution

Article 21.

In the case of the Federation being dissolved by lawful vote of the GA, the assets shall be allocated to one or more non-profit organizations pursuing goals of public interest similar to those of the Federation. The assets cannot be returned to the founders or members, nor be used to the benefit of those, nor for any individual’s or entity’s own benefit. 


GENEVA, April 1, 2015

AMSTERDAM, May 11, 2016




   April 1, 2015



SAVES - The Living Will Society


Dignity South Africa


Final Exit Zimbabwe


Japan Society for Dying with Dignity (JSDD)


Association pour le Droit de Mourir dans la Dignité (ADMD-B)


R.W.S. vzw (Recht op Waardig Sterven vzw)




Association pour le Droit de Mourir dans la Dignité (ADMD-F)




Dignitas (Sektion Deutschland) e.V. DIGNITATE


Living Wills Trust (LWT)


Libera Uscita


Association pour le Droit de Mourir dans la Dignité (ADMD-L)


De Einder


NVVE, Right to Die - NL


EXIT Association pour le Droit de Mourir dans la Dignité (Suisse Romande)


EXIT-Deutsche Schweiz


Dignitas Schweiz




Friends at the End (FATE)


Society for Old Age Rational Suicide, SOARS


RTVD Sweden


Association Québécoise pour le Droit de Mourir dans la Dignité (AQDMD)


Right to Die of Canada


Dying with Dignity


Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization (ERGO)


Final Exit Network


Hemlock Society of Florida, Inc


Hemlock Society of San Diego


Death with Dignity National Center


Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia


Dying With Dignity Tasmania (Inc.)


Dying With Dignity Victoria


Northern Territory Voluntary Euthanasia Society


South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society


South Australia VE Youth Advocates (SAVE-YA)


Dying with Dignity ACT


West Australia Voluntary Euthanasia Society


End of Life Choice, Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand


Fundacion Pro Derecho a Morir Dignamente (DMD Colombia)



The new 2016 Statutes of the World Federation can be downloaded here.