Brunei is enacting Sharia legislation, a brand new penal code that imposes dying by stoning for adultery and homosexual intercourse, and amputations for theft, regardless of widespread criticism.
An absolute monarchy, dominated for 51 years by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, oil-rich Brunei first introduced the brand new penal code in 2013, however full implementation has been delayed.
Bolkiah, 72, is the world’s second-longest reigning monarch and ranks as one of many world’s wealthiest individuals.
The brand new legislation largely applies to Muslims, although some facets may even apply to non-Muslims. It stipulates the dying penalty for various offences, together with rape, adultery, sodomy, theft and insulting or defaming the Prophet Muhammad.
It additionally introduces public flogging as punishment for abortion in addition to amputation for theft and criminalises exposing Muslim youngsters to the beliefs and practices of any faith apart from Islam.
The sultan first introduced plans for the code in 2013.
The small Muslim-majority island had launched penalties in levels, all of which come into drive on Wednesday.
The legal guidelines will make Brunei the primary nation in East or Southeast Asia to have a Sharia penal code on the nationwide degree, becoming a member of a number of largely Center Japanese nations, akin to Saudi Arabia.
‘Barbaric to the core’
The choice to push forward with the implementation of the legal guidelines come after an extended line of politicians, rights teams and celebrities, together with actor George Clooney and musician Elton John, condemned the brand new legal guidelines.
Clooney and John are amongst these calling for a boycott of lodges owned by the sultanate, which embody the Beverly Hills Resort, the Dorchester in London and the Plaza Athenee in Paris.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, mentioned the code was “barbaric to the core, imposing archaic punishments for acts that should not even be crimes”.
Robertson additionally mentioned there was “no place within the 21st century” for this type of penal code.
Complete @hrw launch on #Brunei‘s new penal code, and horrific, medieval punishments for weak ladies, youngsters, #LGBT & others. No place within the 21st century for this type of legislation! https://t.co/x0IMB9YQ8u pic.twitter.com/XsOprlXRYr
— Phil Robertson (@Reaproy) April 3, 2019
Governments have additionally weighed in with the USA saying the punishments run counter to Brunei’s “worldwide human rights obligations”.
“The US strongly opposes violence, criminalisation and discrimination focusing on weak teams,” mentioned deputy State Division spokesman Roberto Palladino.
France and Australia additionally referred to as on Brunei to resign the measures, with each governments expressing concern.
We’re very involved by the entry in drive of a brand new legal code on April 3, which gives for corporal punishment and the dying penalty for crimes together with homosexuality, apostasy, blasphemy, and adultery.https://t.co/jO87CJj4ER pic.twitter.com/yuS2vc040Y
— France Diplomacy🇫🇷 (@francediplo_EN) April 2, 2019
Australia has raised our considerations with the Brunei authorities on the introduction of the complete Syariah Penal Code immediately. We completely oppose the dying penalty & are dedicated to the rights of LGBTI individuals. We’ll proceed to advocate for human rights within the area & past. @dfat
— Marise Payne (@MarisePayne) April 3, 2019
In a public deal with to mark a particular date within the Islamic calendar, the sultan referred to as for stronger Islamic teachings however didn’t point out the brand new penal code.
“I wish to see Islamic teachings on this nation develop stronger,” he mentioned within the nationally televised speech at a conference centre close to the capital Bandar Seri Begawan.
“I want to emphasize that the nation of Brunei is a… nation that all the time devotes its worship to Allah.”
He mentioned that he wished the Muslim name to prayer to ring out in all public locations, not simply in mosques, to remind individuals of their Islamic duties.
The sultan, who has been on the throne for over 5 many years, additionally insisted that Brunei was a “truthful and completely happy” nation.
“Anybody who comes to go to this nation may have a candy expertise, and benefit from the secure and harmonious surroundings,” he mentioned.
Al Jazeera and information businesses