Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque in Brunei

The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei.

Brunei has joined the shameful group of nations in which people can be executed for having gay sex.

The predominantly Muslim country in Southeast Asia has adopted a new penal code that introduces stoning to death as the specific method of execution for “crimes” of a sexual nature.

These include rape, adultery, sodomy and extramarital sexual relations. Gay people could be tried both under sodomy and extramarital sexual relations charges.

The new penal code is set to take effect next week.

The United Nations human rights office has appealed to Brunei to hold off enforcement of the new penal code.

“Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offences contravenes international law,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“We urge the Government to delay the entry into force of the revised penal code and to conduct a comprehensive review ensuring its compliance with international human rights standards,” he told a news conference in Geneva.

“Under international law, stoning people to death constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited,” Colville stated.

The criminalisation and application of the death penalty for consensual relations between adults in private also violates a whole host of rights, including the rights to privacy, to equality before the law, the right to health and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, he added.

“The provisions of the revised penal code may encourage further violence and discrimination against women and also against people on the basis of sexual orientation,” Colville warned.

Homosexuality can be punished with the death penalty in 10 countries: Yemen; Iran; Iraq; Mauritania; Nigeria; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Somalia; Sudan; and the United Arab Emirates.

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