Gender DynamiX statement on Brunei’s Revised
Sharia Penal Code
In an era of human rights advancing the right to life, equality, dignity, freedom, anti-torture approaches to criminality in the context of the protection and advancement of diversity, Gender DynamiX stands in solidarity with human rights defenders in Brunei and strongly condemns the action of the Brunei government.
It is with grave concern that while other countries are decriminalising same-sex consensual conduct, Brunei officially declared its intentions to tighten its criminal law. In Brunei homosexuality was already a punishable offence with 10 Years imprisonment. Based on the outrage from the international community in 2014 when the Penal Code was proposed it was expected that the country would reconsider adoption and implementation of said law. Unfortunately, on 24th March 2019, it stubbornly pushed through with its plans and made an alarming announcement regarding the imposition of the death penalty for same-sex consensual conduct and adultery. Led by a tyrant government, the reason behind the revision of the law is claimed to be an alignment with the Sharia Law, understood to be God’s law.
The revised Penal Code permits the stoning to death of persons engaging in same-sex consensual sexual conduct. Consequently, imposing the death penalty by stoning is seen to be acting contrary to international human rights law that upholds rights to equality, dignity and freedom for all people. The arbitrary law also stands in stark contradiction with the treaty on torture and inhuman treatment of people. There has thus been a strong condemnation by the international community denouncing the imposition of the law and other laws of this nature deemed archaic in addition to the criminalisation of same-sex consensual sexual conduct, the legal systems also criminalise adultery and termination of pregnancy.
Accordingly, the law disregards the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights which Brunei is a signatory to and the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. With this revised law, Brunei continues to be in breach of international human rights law, its legal obligations and thus must bare the consequences of its actions.
As Gender DynamiX, an organisation committed to fighting for legal recognition and legal protection for trans and gender diverse persons, we strongly condemn the heinous acts against humanity perpetrated by the Brunei government.
Gender DynamiX stands in solidarity with other organisations and the international community and adds its voice to the call for the Brunei government to reconsider its current penal code on same-sex consensual sexual conduct and align efforts to international human rights developments which entail ensuring decriminalisation.