Sending Office: Honorable Ilhan Omar
Current Cosponsors: Levin (MI), Raskin, Pocan, Espaillat, Norton, Blumenauer, Johnson (GA), McGovern, Cox, Lowenthal, Rush, Torres, Cicilline
Supported by: Council on Global Equality, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Campaign, Center for Health and Gender Equity
In April, the Sultanate of Brunei instituted a brutal and draconian new penal code that would strip away the human rights of its citizens and strengthen the government’s authoritarian grip. The recently announced penal code revisions mandate the death penalty
for numerous offenses – among them adultery, consensual same-sex relations, blasphemy, and robbery. The penal code also introduces stoning as the means of execution for those who engage in same-sex or extramarital relations. The Sultanate’s plan also authorizes
flogging for women who have abortions and amputation for those accused of theft. Further, the Penal Code would criminalize exposure of Muslim children to beliefs and practices of any religion other than Islam.
These laws are anathema to our values as Americans, and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms wherever they occur. The new statutes will mark Brunei’s LGBT+ community for death simply for being who they are, and loving who they do. The United
Nations has conducted numerous studies that show women are more likely to be sentenced to death by stoning “due to deeply entrenched discrimination and stereotyping against them.” There are no exemptions in the code for children. People who are already vulnerable
in society – LGBT+ people, women, children, and religious minorities – will be targeted and disproportionately suffer from these new laws. There are already reports of an exodus of LGBT+ refugees from Brunei.
Although the Sultan issued a statement recently that the worst parts of the law would not be implemented, many aspects of the penal code remain in place, including amputation for theft, criminalizing teaching Muslim children about other religions, and public
flogging for women who have abortions. Additionally, keeping the laws on the books but promising not to implement them opens the door for even more arbitrary enforcement.
The United States has a duty to call out the blatant disregard for humanity and the violation of basic rights wherever we see them. This is why I have introduced the Brunei Human Rights Act, to authorize sanctions under Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability
Act to ensure that any official who implements this draconian penal code is unable to travel to, or do business with, the United States. My bill also requires extensive reporting on the implementation of this and other similar penal codes in other parts of
the world. To join as a cosponsor, please contact Ryan Morgan in my office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Member of Congress
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