The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) has sent a letter to the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, calling on him to revoke recent changes to the Penal Code, which took effect on 3 April 2019, imposing stoning to death as a punishment for practising homosexuality or acts of adultery.
In its letter, BHRC calls the provisions “regressive,” discriminatory toward the LGBT+ community and women in particular and “in violation of basic international standards, including the UN Convention Against Torture, to which Brunei is a signatory.”
BHRC urges the government of Brunei to revoke these oppressive and discriminatory laws immediately and comply with international human rights obligations.
BHRC Chair Schona Jolly QC said:
The world is moving away from criminalisation of homosexuality. The implementation of these new laws in Brunei mark a distinctly regressive step and constitute a gross violation of the human rights of the LGBT+ community, and a grave affront to the dignity of a community which remains often vulnerable. Laws against adultery are usually invoked against women and in circumstances where punishments are particularly cruel and degrading, these new laws are a substantial violation of women’s rights including their rights to dignity, privacy and equality.