Death penalty by stoning for homosexuality: MEPs write to Brunei’s Sultan

Flag-Pins-Rainbow-Brunei-DarussalamToday, on 3 April 2019, Brunei starts implementing a law that imposes – among others – death penalty by stoning for same-sex relationships.

Brunei introduced a reform of its criminal law based on Sharia law in 2014, to be implemented in 3 stages: the first phase in May 2014; the second was due in 2015; and the third phase  was planned for 2016. The two last phases were halted in 2014 – but Brunei just announced it will go ahead and implementing them on 3 April.

Brunei already condemns same-sex sexual activity with prison. With this new law, sodomy between two men and adulteryis punished with death penalty with stoning, while sexual relations between two women is punished with a fine of up to $40,000, prison up to 10 years and whipping, or combination of these.

Members of the LGBTI Intergroup write to the Sultan of Brunei to remind him of Brunei’s international human rights commitments.

TO: Haji Sir Hassanal Bolkiah,  Sultan of Brunei Darussalam
Concerns: implementation of new criminal law

Brussels, 1 April 2019

Honourable Sultan of Brunei Darussalam,

We were particularly alarmed to hear you decided to go ahead with the implementation of the last phase of your criminal law reform, due to take place on 3 April.

We were shocked that Brunei would make this decision even though Brunei has committed to a number of international and regional human rights standards. It is Brunei’s responsibility to protect the right to freedom of thought, belief and religion, the right to life and the right to dignity for everyone on its soil. Applying the death penalty to non-believers or same-sex sexual relations is in direct contradiction with these international principles.

We are convinced that religious law, including Sharia law, can be enforced in accordance with international human rights principles. We encourage you to foster political dialogue with key stakeholders in civil society, human rights organisations, faith-based institutions, and business organisations, both inside and outside of Brunei, to ensure that due process and the rule of law are upheld in Brunei, and the right to life is protected.

Yours Sincerely,

On behalf of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights,

Terry Reintke MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup

Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup

Sophie in’t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup

Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup

Sirpa Pietikainen, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup

Malin Bjork, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup