The UN’s human rights chief has spoken out against the new “cruel and inhuman” anti-gay law in Brunei.
United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, hit out at the Southeast Asian country’s new laws making gay sex punishable by death by stoning.
Brunei has faced a wave of boycotts over the recent implementation of the brutal new Sharia law-based penal code, which was first announced in 2014 but will be fully implemented this month.
In a statement on Monday (April 1), the UN rights chief condemned the “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments” in the new penal code.
UN high commissioner condemns ‘draconian’ Brunei anti-gay law
High commissioner Michelle Bachelet said: “I appeal to the Government to stop the entry into force of this draconian new penal code, which would mark a serious setback for human rights protections for the people of Brunei if implemented.”
She added that the death penalty “is disproportionately applied against people who are already vulnerable.”
Bachelet continued: “Any religion-based legislation must not violate human rights, including the rights of those belonging to the majority religion as well as of religious minorities and non-believers.
“Human rights and faith are not opposing forces – indeed, it is human interpretation that creates tensions. It is vital that the Government, religious authorities and a wide range of civil society actors work jointly to uphold human dignity and equality for all.”
Homosexuality was already illegal in Brunei, but was previously punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Brunei has defended harsh new anti-gay law
The office of Brunei’s Prime Minister Hassanal Bolkiah put out a statement defending the law amid international outcry on March 30.
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