In Brunei, harsh new criminal laws are now in effect.
They make gay sex and adultery offenses – punishable by stoning.
The new measures are revisions to the country’s Sharia law.
CGTN’s Giles Gibson reports.
The oil and gas rich nation of Brunei, a population of less than 500,000 people is being criticized around the world for its legal system.
In Geneva, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights told Brunei’s government not to implement harsh new criminal and anti-LGBT legislation.
UN OHCHR Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani:
“We are calling on the government of Brunei to halt bringing into effect this law and instead to launch a consultation with religious leaders, with governments, leaders, civil society and people from various communities to try to come up with legislation that can fight crime but at the same time uphold the human rights of all the people of Brunei.”
As well as cracking down on homosexuality, Brunei’s Sharia Penal Code includes a series of other brutal penalties like amputation for theft.
Hollywood actor George Clooney is calling for a boycott of the Dorchester Collection, a group of luxury hotels owned by the Brunei Investment Agency.
The hotel group says it “does not tolerate any form of discrimination.”
The Sultan of Brunei, meanwhile, is standing by the country’s legal system:
“Touching on the attainment of blessings from Allah, I want to see Islamic teachings in this country grow stronger and more visible in the country. This system preserves and guarantees the rights of all the people regardless of their race and faith.”
As condemnation grows around the world, some are hopeful the laws won’t have as devastating an impact as they could.
The UN is calling on Brunei’s government to “maintain its de facto moratorium on the use of capital punishment,” having not carried out an execution since 1957. But that will be cold comfort for the LGBT community inside the country itself. Giles Gibson, CGTN, Washington.