Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned the introduction of harsh new laws in Brunei targeting LGBTIQ people and other minorities.
The laws were enacted in the southeast Asian nation last week imposing penalties as harsh as death by stoning for gay sex, extramarital sex and abortion and have been met with intense condemnation from across the globe.
in response to a letter sent to him by LGBTIQ rights advocate Rodney Croome, Morrison said “the government’s view is clear: criminalisation of consensual same-sex relationships is unacceptable.”
“We believe in equal human rights for LGBTI persons and an end to violence and discrimination against LGBTI across the region and globally,” Morrison wrote.
“The Australian Government is deeply concerned about the new measures under Brunei’s Syariah [Sharia] Penal Code.
“More broadly, we are strongly opposed to corporal and capital punishments in all circumstances and for all people, including in Brunei.
“When the first stage of the Syariah Penal Code was implemented in 2014, 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.
“We have conveyed our strong opposition to the criminalisation of same-sex relationship under the Syariah Penal Code to the government of Brunei and will continue to do so.”
Croome said he welcomed Morrison’s “strong condemnation of the brutal new anti-LGBTI laws that have been enacted in Brunei.”
“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.
“My hope is that there will be continued condemnation of the repressive Brunei laws by the Australian Government, regardless of who wins the May 18 election.
“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.”
Brisbane protest to be held opposite Brunei-owned hotel
From 1pm tomorrow (April 13), a Brisbane protest rally against the laws will be held in the City Botanic Gardens opposite the Royal on the Park Hotel, which QN Magazine revealed last week is owned by the Sultan of Brunei.
Rally organiser Bill Rutkin said the Sultan of Brunei was “perverting the holiness and the sanctity of religion” for political purposes with the laws and Australians must oppose the violence.
“Brunei is a country in our region, and a member of the Commonwealth, so it’s entirely appropriate that we take action,” he said.
Shelley Argent OAM, the national spokesperson for the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) group, will speak at the rally.
“On Australia’s doorstep, people can now be murdered by their government simply for being gay, or for adultery, blasphemy or apostasy,” she said.
“We owe it to our neighbours in Brunei to stand up for their rights.”
More details about the Brisbane rally are available on Facebook here.
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