Dutch FM “deeply concerned” over Brunei death penalty expansion

The Asian state of Brunei implemented new strict Islamic laws on Wednesday, which allows the death penalty for homosexual intercourse and for women who had an abortion to be publicly flogged. The Netherlands is "deeply concerned" by these "inhumane penalties", Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Aairs said on Twitter.

"A serious breach of international human rights", the Dutch Foreign Minister said. "The Netherlands joins [UN Human Rights Chief] Michelle Bachelet in urging the government of Brunei to halt implementation of the revised Penal Code."

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the revisions stipulate the death penalty for offenses such as rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, robbery and insult or defamation of the Prophet Mohammad, among others. It also introduces public flogging as a punishment for abortion, and amputation for theft. And it criminalizes exposing Muslim children to beliefs and practices of any religion other than Islam. People from the LGBTQ community caught having sex can be stoned to death. 

PvdA parliamentarians Kirsten van den Hul and Lilianne Ploumen want to know from Ministers Blok and Sigrid Kaag of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation what the international pressure exerted on Brunei since 2014 looked like and what effect it had. They also want the Ministers to explain to parliament whether the Netherlands, together with international partners, will make a political statement rejecting the new legislation, NU.nl reports.