Sunday 18 August 2019

Brunei's plans to stone gay people to death 'inhuman' - UN

Michelle Bachelet. Picture: Reuters
Michelle Bachelet. Picture: Reuters

Adam Withnall

The UN's high commissioner for human rights has condemned as "inhuman" a move by Brunei to punish gay sex by stoning to death and theft by amputation.

The small Asian nation is due to implement a new penal code tomorrow that it says is in keeping with Sharia law.

In a statement, the office of prime minister and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said the change to the law would "criminalise and deter acts that are against the teachings of Islam".

The new punishments will also include the death penalty for people committing adultery, as well as introducing whipping for sodomy, adultery or rape.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN's top rights official, urged 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".

Her statement comes amid global outcry at the development in Brunei, which is a former British protectorate and welcomes thousands of British tourists each year.

After the actor George Clooney called for a boycott of all Brunei-owned hotels around the world, singer Elton John said he and his husband David Furnish had "long refused to stay at these hotels and will continue to do so".

He listed hotels including the Dorchester in London and the Beverly Hills Hotel in California, saying: "We hope you will join us in solidarity.

"I commend my friend George Clooney for taking a stand against the anti-gay discrimination and bigotry taking place in the nation of Brunei - a place where gay people are brutalised, or worse - by boycotting the Sultan's hotels," he wrote on Twitter.

Brunei, a tiny patch of Borneo island with a population of 400,000 people, has long enforced Islamic teachings far more strictly than other neighbouring Muslim-majority nations such as Malaysia or Indonesia. The country has banned alcohol and forbids religions other than Islam. (© Independent News Service)

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