Human Rights Voices

While the UN devotes its human rights operations to the demonization of the democratic state of Israel above all others and condemns the United States more often than the vast majority of non-democracies around the world, the voices of real victims around the world must be heard.

Brunei Darussalam, March 28, 2019

Brunei deems gay sex and adultery punishable with death by stoning

Original source

Fox News

Gay sex and adultery will be punished with death by stoning in the Southeast Asian kingdom of Brunei beginning next week as part of the nation's gradual implementation of sharia law.

After April 3, those found guilty of engaging in homosexual intercourse or adultery can be punished via stoning, according to the country's new draconian penal code. A "group of Muslims" must witness a perpetrator's crimes in order for them to face punishment, according to The Guardian. The news outlet notes that the code also mandates a hand or a foot be amputated from those guilty of theft.

The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, first ordered the implementation of sharia law, the Islamic legal system that details strict corporal punishments, in 2014. New laws have been introduced quietly since then to avoid uproar from the international community.

Human rights groups condemned Brunei after the country's attorney general announced the country's ruthless new provisions on his website on December 29.

"Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations," Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei researcher at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

"The international community must urgently condemn Brunei's move to put these cruel penalties into practice," Chhoa-Howard said, adding that cases involving gay sex "should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender."

Home to roughly 430,000 people, Brunei has grown increasingly conservative over the past few years, banning alcohol and fining or sending women to jail for having children out of wedlock. In 2014, the Sultan of Brunei, who also acts as the country's prime minister, defended his sharia law initiative after receiving harsh criticism on the international stage.

Sultan Bolkiah said in a statement that his government "does not expect other people to accept and agree with it, but that it would suffice if they just respect the nation in the same way that it also respects them."

The Sultan of Brunei, who has been on the throne since 1967, is one of the world's wealthiest leaders with an estimated fortune of about $20 billion. The oil-rich kingdom established independence from the British Empire in 1984 and borders the more moderate Islamic nations of Indonesia and Malaysia.

Only Muslim citizens, who make up roughly two-thirds of Brunei's population, would be required to follow sharia law. Under new provisions, Brunei's Muslims can be put to death for gay sex, sodomy, rape and adultery.

Although homosexuality was illegal in Brunei under British colonial rule, it was never a crime punishable by death.