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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

MEPs call on Brunei to scrap “wholly unacceptable” new penal code

18 April 2019

Today cross-party MEPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution calling on Brunei’s state authorities to scrap new laws which punish same-sex relationships, adultery and abortion with stoning. The penal code also includes harsh punishments for pregnancy out of wedlock, failing to pray on Fridays, and even dressing in clothes associated with a different sex.

The resolution, proposed by the Greens/EFA Group and co-signed by Jean Lambert MEP, calls for action including [1]:

  • EU restricted measures such as visa bands or asset freezes against the people responsible for these human rights violations
  • More support from EU institutions to civil society organisations and human rights defenders working on LGBTI+ rights
  • The EU to consider blacklisting the hotels owned by the Brunei Investment Agency
  • The EU to respect the international legal framework regarding asylum procedures for victims of Brunei’s current Penal Code

Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP, says:

“The decision of the Brunei authorities to introduce hardline Sharia Penal Code is wholly unacceptable, and an affront to universal values concerning human rights.

These new laws – which punish same-sex relationships, adultery, pregnancy out of wedlock, failing to pray on Fridays, and even dressing in clothes associated with a different sex – clearly contravene international human rights law and lock the people of Brunei in the past. It’s particularly appalling that punishments also extend to children.

Today cross-party MEPs voted in favour of a resolution, initiated by the Greens/EFA Group, which sends a strong message to Brunei: the European Parliament strongly condemns the actions of Brunei’s state authorities, and will not tolerate homophobia or bigotry.

Should the Sultan and his allies fail to scrap these laws, we urge the EU and its Member States to consider using every tool available to end this cruel treatment, including asset freezes and visa bans. We also hope to see the situation in Brunei as an item on the agenda of the next ASEAN EU Policy Dialogue on Human Rights.

Everyone has the right to live and love in peace, according to international human rights standards. We stand in solidarity with the LGBTI+ community, women, children and other vulnerable groups in Brunei, as well as the brave human rights defenders who are putting their lives on the line to stand up for their fellow citizens.”