Does the silence from the Obama Administration about Brunei's decision to enact Sharia laws against homosexuality reveal a disturbing double-standard of the US government?
Or could this just another example of the kind of CIA miscalculation that has plagued the agency for decades?
On April 22 2014, some of the most extreme anti-gay laws came into effect in the tiny Sultanate of Brunei. The Southeast Asia nation has enacted punishments mandated by Sharia law for a number of offenses, including same-sex-activity. For crimes of a sexual nature, stoning to death- as well as slicing selected parts of criminal anatomy- will be a newly adopted method of punishment under the new laws. These laws will be gradually phased in over the next few years.
"Rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, insulting any verses of the Quran and Hadith, blasphemy, declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim, and murder are the other offences for which the death penalty could be applied under the revised code."
Although tiny country is predominantly Muslim (67%) there are also Buddhists (13%), Christian (10%) who will from now on be obliged to live under Sharia laws.
In point of fact, the Koran has this to say about the law when it comes to homosexuality.
If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful (Sura al-Nisa' 4:16)
So, it would seem laws that require punishment are, strictly speaking, interpretations of the Sharia law and not based on what the religion actually dictates anyway. (But that's a matter for Koranic scholars to argue about.)
In any case, the United Nations Human Rights strongly condemned the new laws as a violation of human rights. Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Colville said,
“Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offences contravenes international law.”
Colville pointed out other problems with the new laws.
"Stoning to death, under international law, constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited,”
Additionally, he noted that the "criminalization and application of the death penalty for consensual relations between adults in private also violates a whole host of rights, including the rights to privacy, to equality before the law, the right to health and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention."