- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 1, 2014

Shariah law has come to East Asia for the first time.

Human rights groups blasted the oil-rich nation of Brunei for adopting a code of Islamic law that opens the door to “flogging, dismemberment and death by stoning,” as punishment for crimes, CNN reported Thursday.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who serves as the nation’s Prime Minister, announced Wednesday that the transition to Shariah law has started. The decision will affect roughly 412,000 people.

“[The law] makes a mockery of the country’s international human rights commitments and must be revoked immediately,” Amnesty International’s regional deputy director Rupert Abbott said in a statement released after the decision was announced, CNN reported.

Under the new laws, which in theory are supposed to exist alongside Brunei’s existing civil penal code, gay sex will be criminalized. Guilty parties will be stoned to death, CNN reported

The United Nations is on record as saying that stoning people constitutes torture.

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, also fears what the adoption of Shariah law will mean for women. 

“A number of U.N. studies have revealed that women are more likely to be sentenced to death by stoning, due to deeply entrenched discrimination and stereotyping against them,” he said in April, CNN reported.

Feminist groups also expressed outrage.

“‘Kill-a-gay’ laws, or laws that allow the flogging of women for abortion, violate international law and have no place in civilized society,” Feminist Majority Foundation board member Mavis Leno said Wednesday on the organization’s website.

The Human Rights Campaign, which is based out of the United States, also condemned the move. The organization said that the kinds of punishment that would be meted out because of the new laws would be “horrific and sickening,” The Associated Press reported Thursday.



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