On 3 April, the Nation of Brunei will introduce a law that provides people can be stoned to death for gay sex.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on March 29, 2019

Amnesty International said the law had been discussed five years but was recently snuck by into the Penal Code via a notice on the Attorney-General’s website.

“Pending provisions in Brunei’s Penal Code would allow stoning and amputation as punishments – including for children, to name only their most heinous aspects,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, a Brunei Researcher at Amnesty International.

“Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations. The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.

“To legalise such cruel and inhuman penalties is appalling of itself. Some of the potential ‘offences’ should not even be deemed crimes at all, including consensual sex between adults of the same gender,” Chhoa-Howard said.

Clooney calls for a boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei

The tiny nation is ruled by The Sultan, who has been in power since 1967. He has described Brunei’s Shariah Penal Code as based on “special guidance” from God.

George Clooney has called for a boycott of all hotels owned by The Sultan in protest at the new laws. “Every single time we stay at or take meetings at or dine at any of these nine hotels we are putting money directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery,” he wrote in a piece for Deadline Hollywood.

“Are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations? Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?”

The Sultan, whose wealth has been estimated above US$20 billion, owns nine luxury hotels including the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel and the Bel-Air in Los Angeles, The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane in London and Le Meurice (Paris).

Brunei has a dismal record on human rights

When the law was first discussed in 2014, Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch described it as “a huge step back for human rights in (Brunei) and totally out of step with the 21st century.”

The LGBT community in Brunei is very much underground. Reporters working on an in-depth HuffPost investigation into LGBT rights across South East Asia could not locate a single gay person or gay rights advocate willing to share their story, even anonymously.

Brunei has also refused to ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Torture is also prohibited as a peremptory rule of customary international law, meaning countries are forbidden from committing acts of torture even when they have not ratified relevant human rights treaties.

Brunei is also introducing amputation for people found guilty of theft and allows people convicted of immigration offences to be beaten with a cane. International human rights law prohibits all forms of corporal punishment.