The international minister of Brunei has defended his nation’s new penal code — which made adultery and homosexual intercourse punishable by dying from stoning, and permits for the amputation of limbs for theft — saying the legal guidelines are meant as a deterrent.
The United Nations and worldwide rights teams have denounced the punishments, saying they quantity to torture and a violation of human rights.
Erywan Yusof, Brunei’s minister of international affairs, in a letter despatched to a number of United Nations rights officers this week, outlined an in depth protection and stated the penalties focus “extra on prevention than punishment.”
Brunei, a tiny sultanate of about 430,000 on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo, has drawn condemnation and requires boycotts over the legal guidelines. Its leaders say the punishments are according to the nation’s tradition and non secular custom.
Homosexuality has been unlawful within the nation for years. Whereas the brand new legal guidelines replicate a extreme escalation in enforcement, Mr. Yusof claimed that Brunei’s toughened penal code was according to worldwide human rights requirements.
“Its intention is to coach, deter, rehabilitate and nurture somewhat than to punish,” Mr. Yusof wrote of the legal guidelines, which went into impact on April three. “It seeks to strike the precise stability between defending the rights of the accused particular person and the rights of the victims and their households.” Mr. Yusof didn’t say whom Brunei thought-about victims.
Amnesty Worldwide has referred to as Brunei’s claims that the legal guidelines are preventive “callous and reckless” and referred to as on the nation to repeal them instantly.
“To defend the specter of amputation and stoning as aiming to ‘rehabilitate and nurture’ is plainly absurd,” Stephen Cockburn, the deputy director of world points at Amnesty Worldwide, stated in a press release on Friday. “Merely enacting such legal guidelines creates a poisonous and threatening setting.”
Brunei first introduced the brand new penalties for homosexual intercourse, adultery and theft six years in the past. It delayed placing the measures into impact after they have been greeted with worldwide outrage.
When the legal guidelines did take impact this month, rights teams raised the alarm, and celebrities and different public figures inspired boycotts of companies owned by the nation and the household of its enormously rich chief, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
These embody a number of the world’s most unique lodges, that are owned by the Brunei Funding Company, an arm of the federal government.
The sultan has in latest many years advocated for a hard-line imaginative and prescient of Islam. The royal household’s opulent life, financed by Brunei’s immense oil wealth, has usually gave the impression to be at odds with the nation’s more and more restrictive tradition and authorized system.
The brand new legal guidelines additionally launched public flogging as a punishment for abortion, and criminalize exposing Muslim youngsters to the beliefs and practices of different religions.
Mr. Yusof, in his letter, defended the nation’s proper to enact religiously primarily based legal guidelines and stated the brand new penal code “doesn’t criminalize nor has any intention to victimize an individual’s standing primarily based on sexual orientation or perception, together with same-sex relations.”
“Brunei is a small nation, with a small inhabitants,” he wrote. “Sturdy non secular values with wealthy heritage of custom and tradition kind the very basis of the distinctive Bruneian identification.”
Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights, has referred to as on Brunei to repeal the legal guidelines as a result of they enshrine punishments that breach worldwide human rights legislation. She stated they mirrored a “severe setback for human rights protections.”
Introducing any legislation primarily based on non secular traditions, Ms. Bachelet stated, should additionally take note of the rights of all residents. She warned the brand new legal guidelines may encourage violence and discrimination towards girls, the L.G.B.T. neighborhood and non secular minorities.
“Any religion-based laws should not violate human rights, together with the rights of these belonging to the bulk faith in addition to of spiritual minorities and nonbelievers,” Ms. Bachelet stated. “Human rights and religion should not opposing forces — certainly, it’s human interpretation that creates tensions.”