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Statement by Equal Rights Coalition on the situation in Brunei

April 13, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

The undersigned members of the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) express profound dismay at the decision of Brunei to fully implement its revised Penal Code.  As part of the full implementation which became effective on April 3, 2019, provisions have been introduced prescribing a range of penalties including amputation of limbs, whipping and stoning to death for specific acts identified as offences in the Code.  The acts that are punishable by means of these penalties include robbery, rape, adultery and engaging in same-sex sexual conduct.

These extreme penalties raise serious concerns in light of Brunei’s international human rights obligations and commitments, including those relating to the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the right to equal protection of the law without discrimination.  They also have a detrimental impact on a number of vulnerable groups in Brunei, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, women and children.   The new provisions exacerbate the marginalization of persons belonging to these groups and increase the risk that they will be exposed to discrimination, persecution and violence, even if they are not prosecuted for having violated the Code.

The ERC affirms that all people are entitled to respect for their human rights, without distinction.  We urge the government of Brunei to repeal the new penalties, and to ensure that any measures that are introduced are consistent with Brunei’s international human rights obligations and commitments.

Co-signatories:

Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New-Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay

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