LGBT Rights: Brunei

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:29 pm on 10th April 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons) 4:29 pm, 10th April 2019

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered LGBT rights in Brunei.

It is a pleasure to serve with you in the Chair, Mr Hollobone. I am glad that so many right hon. and hon. Members have been able to come today, because this is an important topic that is dear to our hearts and those of our constituents.

As Members will know, last week the Sultan of Brunei implemented the third phase of the sharia penal code—the SPC—which was first introduced in 2014. This phase of the code’s implementation licenses brutal executions and violent punishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including death by stoning, effectively just for living their sexual identity. As a result, Brunei is now the eighth country that can punish consensual same-sex relationships with the death penalty. It also punishes women for abortion, which is a health matter, and anyone for sex outside of marriage, which is a private matter.

Last week in the House, the Minister gave a welcome statement about this situation. However, he said that the UK has a “close friendship” with Brunei as a result of our long-standing military and strategic partnerships, which I understand. He also mentioned Brunei’s membership of the Commonwealth. I believe that that relationship gives the UK special responsibility to act against this violation of human rights, which has implications for people both within and beyond Brunei. I will return to that point later.