Australia’s Prime Minster Scott Morrison has told Brunei he does not approve of its new laws which would sentence people for same-sex relations to death by stoning.
Morrison revealed his opposition to the laws in a letter to long-time LGBTI activist Rodney Croome.
Last month, Gay Star News revealed the Kingdom of Brunei in south east Asia planned to introduce new Sharia (Islamic) laws. The draconian laws included the death penalty by stoning for sodomy, public flogging for those convicted of rape, abortion or adultery. Convicted thieves will also have their hands and feet amputated.
Morrison said Australia was ‘strongly opposed to corporal and capital punishments in all circumstances and for all people, including in Brunei’.
‘The Government’s view is clear: criminalisation of consensual same-sex sexual relationships is unacceptable,’ Morrison wrote in the letter.
‘We believe in equal human rights for LGBTI persons and an end to violence and discrimination against LGBTI persons across the region and globally.’
The prime minister confirmed Australia had already expressed concern to Brunei in 2014 when it first decided to amend its Sharia Penal Code.
‘Australia urged Brunei to ensure that implementation was in accordance with its international human rights obligations. We are deeply disappointed that Brunei has proceeded with these measures,’ Morrison said.
He then wrote that the Australian government ‘conveyed our strong opposition to the criminalisation of same-sex relationships under the Syariah Penal Code to the Government of Brunei and will continue to do so’.
End diplomatic ties
Croome welcomed the prime minister’s stance.
‘When the Australian Prime Minister speaks out, and when there is unanimous condemnation of Brunei’s brutal laws across the political aisle, it sends a very strong message to the Brunei Government,’ he said.
‘If Brunei doesn’t change course, the Australian Government should cease diplomatic ties with Brunei, cease using services owned by the Brunei Government and move to have it suspended from the Commonwealth.’