Image: Ian Funk.

Iceland Cosigns Statement Against Brutal, Discriminatory Law in Brunei

 In News, Politics, Society

Iceland is one of thirty-six countries to cosign a statement urging the government of Brunei to revoke changes to its penal code which legalize a range of violent and brutal punishments for acts such as robbery, rape, adultery and sexual conduct with a same-sex partner. RÚV reports that all of the cosignatories are part of the Equal Rights Commission, an intergovernmental body “dedicated to the protection of the rights of LGBTI people.”

“The undersigned members of the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) express profound dismay at the decision of Brunei to fully implement its revised Penal Code,” reads the statement, which was published on the Canadian government’s website. “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.”

“These extreme penalties raise serious concerns in light of Brunei’s international human rights obligations and commitments,” the statement continues. “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.”

Commenting on Brunei’s new penalties, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, wrote that “[i]t’s sad that to this day, LGBTQ people are subjected to such persecution at the hands of their governments…The rights of LGBTQ people are a fundamental part of Iceland’s human rights policy and we put a great deal of emphasis on them in our work with the Human Rights Commission. These rights aren’t relative, but stand always, everywhere. Which is why we cannot and may not let the government in Brunei’s decision pass without reproof.”

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