UN condemns Brunei law of stoning for adultery and same sex

The United Nations has Monday  criticised the new laws set to take effect in Brunei this week which impose death by stoning for gay sex and adultery, and amputations for theft and also branding it as inhumane. 

 Photo of  UN logo with people walking by
Photo of  UN logo with people walking by

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in a statement "I appeal to the government to stop the entry into force of this draconian new penal code, which would mark a serious setback for human rights protections for the people of Brunei if implemented."

 Brunei, an absolute monarchy ruled for 51 years by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, has said it will implement the new penal code starting Wednesday.  
Brunei first announced the measures in 2013, but implementation has been delayed, in the face of opposition by rights groups, and as officials worked out the practical details.

 The new law stipulates the death penalty for a number of offences, including rape, adultery, sodomy, robbery and insulting or defaming the Prophet Mohammad. 

 It also introduces public flogging as punishment for abortion as well as amputation for theft and criminalises exposing Muslim children to the beliefs and practices of any religion besides Islam. 

Bachelet pointed out that a wide range of UN rights experts had "expressed their concerns about the cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments contained in the Penal Code order". 

 Her comments came after a long line of politicians and celebrities, including George Clooney and Elton John, condemned the new laws and called for a boycott of hotels owned by the sultanate. 

Homosexuality has long been illegal in Brunei, which practises a stricter brand of Islam than neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia, but it will now become a capital offence. 

 The law applies only to Muslims.

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