US condemns Brunei’s anti-LGBTQ laws

Washington: The United States has condemned Brunei’s recent decision to clamp down on the LGBTQ community by implementing laws whose associated penalties “run counter” to international human rights.

This comes in the wake of Brunei implementing laws which make homosexuality and adultery punishable by death. As per the new law, anyone found guilty of the offences will be stoned to death and the punishment will be “witnessed by a group of Muslims.”

“Brunei’s decision to implement Phases Two and Three of the Sharia Penal Code and associated penalties runs counter to its international human rights obligations, including with respect to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said during a media briefing on April 2.

“The United States strongly opposes violence, criminalization and discrimination targeting vulnerable groups, including women at risk of violence, religious and ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons,” he said.

Palladino added that all governments have an obligation to ensure that people can freely enjoy the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled.

“We continue to encourage Brunei to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which it signed in 2015, and to sign, ratify, and implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” he outlined.

Hollywood actor George Clooney launched efforts to boycott hotels associated with the Kingdom following the announcement. Other celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Elton John have supported Clooney’s call with DeGeneres tweeting, “We need to do something now. Please boycott…hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Raise your voices now. Spread the word. Rise up.”

The oil-rich Kingdom’s monarch owns a string of luxury hotels, including jaunts made famous by Hollywood stars like The Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, USA.