The new penal code will be effective from 22 April. Homosexuality has long been labeled a crime in Brunei; however, the most extreme punishment had been a 10-year prison sentence.
The 67-year-old Sultan of Brunei, who happens to be one of the wealthiest rulers in the world, wishes to see to it that his country adopts a system of Islamic law. The sultan advocates the amplification of Islam in Brunei to counter what he believes constitute potentially harmful outside influences. He recently described his Islamic monarchy as a “firewall” against globalization.
Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said, “We are deeply concerned about the revised penal code in Brunei Darussalam, due to come into force later this month, which stipulates the death penalty for numerous offence” continuing “application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offenses contravenes international law."
Brunei's new penal code consents death by stoning for a variety of offences including:
- Same-sex sexual relationship
- Extramarital affairs
A Law That Will Reinforce Female Inequality?
Among the several infringements of human rights, this new penal code will pardon the discrimination of women.
Colville reminds us that the UN studies give an insight into how women are more likely fall prey to the death penalty as a direct result of the ever-prevalent discrimination and stereotyping in the justice system.