The Belgian parliament has voted by a strong majority to extend euthanasia to terminally-ill children who will now be able to ask to die if they are in great pain and there is no available treatment.
Eighty six lawmakers voted in favour with 44 against and 12 abstaining. The bill was passed by the Senate in December.
Analysts say King Phillipe’s signature is a formality for the bill to become law making the country the first in the world to remove any age limit on the practice.
Supporters based their arguments on the human right to a dignified death. The leader of the Socialist group in the Senate described it as “the ultimate gesture of humanity”.
Campaigners against the move said it could put children at risk arguing they are not capable of making such a difficult decision.
Belgium passed a law decriminalising euthanasia for terminally ill people over the age of 18 in 2002.