Humanists condemn extreme new capital punishment regime in Brunei

Humanist Society Scotland have joined Humanist groups around the world in condemning Brunei’s new penal code which introduces death by stoning for a number of ‘crimes’. The controversial law includes capital punishment for sex between men, adultery and blasphemy. In addition the law will also criminalise exposing Muslim children to the beliefs and practices of any religion or non-religious outlook other than Islam.

Humanists International, of which Humanist Society Scotland is a member, has been raising the issue of Brunei’s increasingly extreme penal code since 2014, when during the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review Process we explained that it would lead to “gross human rights violations” and was “We deeply regret the country’s rejection of several states’ recommendations to suspend the Code, and urge Brunei to introduce a justice system that is fully compatible with its international human rights commitments.”

In addition to the horrific attack on LGBT rights, this latest law highlights again the severe punishment of Blasphemy around the world . This further cements the need to revoke Blasphemy laws wherever they appear, including our campaign in Scotland.

Humanist Society Scotland approached Kenneth Gibson MSP to raise the matter in the Scottish Parliament and he submitted the following motion before the parliament condemning the new penal code and the continued criminalisation of homosexuality around the world.

Motion S5M-16775: Criminalisation of Homosexuality Persists Around the World

That the Parliament regrets that a number of countries around the world still criminalise same-sex relationships, including at least eight countries in which homosexuality can result in a death penalty and dozens more in which homosexual acts can result in a prison sentence; is concerned by the implementation of a revised penal code in Brunei, which stipulates that the death penalty for offences such as rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, robbery and insult or defamation of the Prophet Mohammad; understands that the revisions, which came into force on 3 April 2019, also introduce public flogging as a punishment for abortion, amputation as a punishment for theft, and criminalises exposing Muslim children to the beliefs and practices of any religion other than Islam; believes that these changes are a direct attack on LGBT people, minority religious groups, women’s rights and humanists in Brunei, and calls on the UK Government to work in partnership with other nations and international organisations to encourage greater tolerance and the development of more inclusive societies that respect diversity and human rights.

The current signatories to the motion are (as on 5/4/19):

Kennth Gibson (Cunninghame North, SNP)
Sandra White (Glasgow Kelvin, SNP)
Richard Lyle (Uddingston & Bellshill, SNP)
Bill Kidd (Glasgow Anniesland, SNP)
Tavish Scott (Shetland, Lib Dem)
Emma Harper (South Scotland, SNP)
Rona Mackay (Strathkelvin & Bearsden, SNP)
Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western, Lib Dem)
Joan McAlpine (South Scotland, SNP)
David Torrance (Kirkcaldy, SNP)
John Finnie (Highlands & Islands, Green)
Gillian Martin (Aberdeenshire East, SNP)
Mark McDonald (Aberdeen Donside, Ind)
Clare Adamson (Motherwell & Wishaw, SNP)
Stuart McMillan (Greenock and Inverclyde, SNP)

We would encourage our members and supporters to ask their local MSP to add their name. You can find your local MSPs contact details via


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