Peter Tatchell has slammed the Australian Prime Minister’s silence after the sultan of Brunei introduced capital punishment for gay sex today (3 April).
Starting today, you can now be stoned to death for being gay in the small Southeastern Asia country.
The Sultan pressed a strict Shariah penal code onto the state, where punishments include stoning, amputation, and whipping.
But activist Tatchell pleaded for Australian PM Scott Morrison to condemn Brunei.
What did he say?
‘Scott Morrison’s silence so far is shocking,’ Tatchell told QN Magazine ahead of the law’s introduction.
‘He should give a lead by publicly condemning this heinous law and by urging the Sultan of Brunei to rescind it.’
The gay activist also called for the Australian government to ‘warn Brunei that it will suspend diplomatic relations and economic ties if this law is implemented.’
Why is Morrison silent on the matter?
No one’s sure right now, but Australian foreign minister Marise Payne refused to stay quiet on the matter.
She, too, slammed the Brunei bloc and raised her concerns to Brunei foreign minister, Dato Erywan.
‘Australia has raised our concerns with the Brunei government on the introduction of the full Shariah Penal Code today,’ she tweeted.
‘We absolutely oppose the death penalty & are committed to the rights of LGBTI people.
‘We will continue to advocate for human rights in the region and beyond.’
Across the Tasman Ocean, New Zealand’s foreign minister Winston Peters said Brunei’s decision was ‘seriously regrettable’.
The new code ‘contravenes a number of international norms on human rights’, Peters said.
Background of Brunei
Rulers of Brunei have long enforced strictly traditional interpretations of Islamic teachings. The country, in Southeast Asia, operates under an absolute monarchy.
In other words, the head of state, the Sultan of Brunei, is also head of government. Royalty and lawmaking are one the same.
For example, under the current 51-year-long monarch Hassanal Bolkiah, the country banned alcohol and forbade the proliferation of non-Islamic faiths.
All a stark contrast to neighbouring Muslim-majority nations, such as Indonesia or Malyasia.
Sharia Penal Code: In three stages
Back in 2014, Bolkiah announced the Brunei governmental bloc would implement the Sharia Penal Code in three stages.
The first stage of legal reforms was no struggle to lawmakers, but its second and third stages experienced holdups.
However, the Bruneian Attorney General’s Chambers website officially posted plans to fast-track implementation of the SPC on 29 December 2018.