New laws for homosexuals in Brunei
New laws for homosexuals in Brunei (Representational picture) Pixabay

The Southeast Asian country Brunei has decided to introduce a new law, which will be in effect from next week. As per the new law, the adultery and homosexual sex in the country will be subject to death by stoning but it will be applicable to the Muslims only.

The authorities clearly stated that from April 3, 2019, any individual found guilty of mentioned offences, will be stoned to death according to a new penal code and the punishment will be witnessed by a group of Muslims. The new law also includes amputation of a hand and foot for theft.

In 2014, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, who also acts as the country's prime minister first announced the strict laws under the Syariah law that has been on hold for four years due to heavy criticism. The bizarre new provisions were announced through a notice on Brunei's Attorney General's Chambers on December 29, 2018.

Human right groups reacted in horror on Wednesday, March 27 after news about the new laws came under the spotlight.

Rachel Chhoa-Howard, the Brunei Researcher at Amnesty International, said in a statement that the country "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."

It has been a while that Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran carry out harsh penalties under Syariah law. Now after adopting the same law in 2014, the oil-rich kingdom on the island of Borneo also ready to introduce the horrible punishment for gay sex and adultery.

It should be noted that homosexuality in Brunei was illegal but now it is a capital offence. As per the government's website, the Sultan said that his government "does not expect other people to accept and agree with it, but that it would suffice if they just respect the nation in the same way that it also respects them."

As per The Washington Post, there are 10 countries where homosexuality is considered as punishable offence. Example:

  • Yemen, where under 1994 penal code, married men can be sentenced to death by stoning for homosexual intercourse
  • Mauritania, where Muslim men engaging in gay sex can be stoned to death, according to a 1984 law
  • Sharia law in Qatar applies only to Muslims, who can be put to death for extramarital sex, regardless of sexual orientation.

On the other hand, the so called third world country, India recently decriminalised consensual sex between adults regardless of their gender and partially scrapped Section 377 of the penal code. Even UK brought changes to their decades-old homosexual laws through Alan Turing Law. In Singapore, there are several human rights and LGBT groups, which are hoping for a change in Section 377A penal code.

A woman holds a rainbow flag at the Pink Dot rally, Singapore's annual gay pride rally, at a park in Singapore July 1, 2017
A woman holds a rainbow flag at the Pink Dot rally, Singapore's annual gay pride rally, at a park in Singapore July 1, 2017 REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

However, many Twitter users reacted to the implementation of the new law in Brunei news and expressed their opinion as well as criticised the decision.