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Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on the tightening of the Sharia penal code in Brunei

02.04.2019 - Press release

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (3 April) on the introduction of the second and third phases of the Sharia penal code in Brunei Darussalam:

I am shocked by the imminent tightening of Sharia laws in Brunei. The death penalty is a cruel and degrading form of punishment. The same holds true for other corporal punishments for which Brunei is also creating a legal basis by taking this step. These punishments are incompatible with human dignity and cannot be justified on religious grounds.
What is particularly disturbing is the heightening of criminal liability for sexual acts between same sex partners who in future could face stoning. I condemn in the strongest possible terms criminal persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity and the resulting brutal punishments.

I call upon the Government of Brunei not to implement the planned tightening of the Sharia penal code and, should the code come into force nonetheless, not in any circumstances to carry out the death penalty and other corporal punishments. We consider the criminal law provisions to be a clear violation of the country’s human rights obligations.

Background information:

The sultanate Brunei Darussalam plans to tighten the Sharia penal code on 3 April, thereby creating a legal basis for extreme corporal punishments such as amputation for theft and stoning for homosexual and extramarital sexual intercourse. Brunei introduced the first phase of the Sharia penal code in 2014. The introduction of the second and third phase which is now imminent had been postponed on several occasions. 

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