EU parliament slams Brunei over anti-gay laws

Thai protesters outside the Brunei embassy in Bangkok (Photo: Facebook)

The European Parliament on Thursday (18 April) condemned Brunei’s ‘retrograde’ Islamic laws which punish gay sex with death by stoning.
It adopted a resolution that ‘strongly condemns the entry into force of the retrograde Sharia Penal Code; [and] urged the Bruneian authorities to immediately repeal it’.

Brunei’s brutal sharia laws, ushered in earlier this week, which punish gay sex with death by stoning.

‘No crime justifies an amputation or torture, let alone the death penalty’ the parliament’s vice president, Federica Mogherini, said.

‘And no person should be punished for loving someone. That can never be interpreted as a crime.’

But, the parliament stopped short of issuing sanctions on Brunei and its ruling royal family.

Lawmakers had called for asset freezes and visa bans on the Southeast Asian nation and to blacklist nine hotels owned by the Brunei Investment Agency.

What’s more, EU lawmakers said Brunei was doing ‘abusive lobbying’ ahead of Thursday’s vote.

Representatives handed out a letter claiming Brunei did not criminalize people based on sexual orientation.

It said ‘stoning gay people will be rare’.

‘The criminalization of adultery and sodomy is to safeguard the sanctity of family lineage and marriage of individual Muslims particularly women’, it also reportedly said.

What is happening in Brunei?

Brunei is a tiny, but wealthy, Muslim-majority nation in Southeast Asia which now punishes gay sex with death by stoning.

Earlier this month, the country’s all-powerful Sultan introduced new sharia–or Islamic–laws.

They include: Death by stoning for people convicted of sodomy. Public flogging for those convicted of abortions, adultery or rape. The amputation of hands and feet for convicted thieves.

The United Nations condemned them as ‘cruel and inhuman’. The sultan has defended his ’sovereign right’.

Some argue that dwindling oil and gas reserves have forced the sultan to shore up support as a protector of Islam.

A coalition of rights groups in Southeast Asia last week protested the new laws.

Celebrities have also led a boycott of the Sultan’s business portfolio. And, in the UK, a Labour MP said the UK should chuck Brunei out of the commonwealth.

Author: Rik Glauert

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Pride organizers in South Korea press charges against violent protestors

Organizers of an LGBTI pride event in Incheon, South Korea have filed charges against Christian pastors who they claim violently disrupted an event in the city last September.

They accuse a Christian pastor of grabbing a person with disabilities and shouting at them. They also say Christian protesters damaged vehicles, according to local media.

Organizers also lodged complaints with South Korea’s national human rights body.

They accuse police of inaction at the first Incheon Queer Culture Festival.

‘The experience of human rights violations caused by the crimes of the participants of the rally is not only a personal violation but also a widespread societal harm’ one organizer said according to Incheon Today.

‘The situation has become worse as the police have not fulfilled their obligations to the incitement of the abuse’ they said.

Violence

More than 1,000 conservative Christian demonstrators verbally and physically attacked the inaugural Incheon Queer Culture Festival

Anti-gay protesters physically blocked 300 LGBTI supporters from leaving a plaza and beginning the march.

Video shared online shows distressing scenes of protesters, believed to be conservative Christians, shouting at pride attendees.

They also appear to grab flags, banners, and even attendees. A lot of young LGBTI South Koreans attended the pride event. They were visibly shaken by the incident.

Protesters delayed the pride parade and forced organizers to cancel other planned events.

Police booked eight people involved but did not detain them. Organizers accused the police of failing to stop the violence.

Christian protesters have also attacked pride events in Seoul and Jeju.

Slipping on LGBTI rights

South Korea’s fledging LGBTI movement has triggered a conservative backlash, HRW warned earlier this year.

In its 2019 world report, HRW said leaders had done little to protect the rights of LGBTI people in South Korea.

The rights group noted 210,000 people had signed a petition against a pride parade in the capital, Seoul. Anti-LGBTI protestors also blocked a pride festival in Incheon.

Government education guidelines on sex education also discriminate against LGBT youth, HRW warned.

Organizers of the largest LGBTI pride event in South Korea this month urged the government not to give in to conservative groups and protect attendees.

Pride events in Korea are increasingly under attack from conservative Christians. The groups pressure authorities to deny permission and violently disrupt activities.

The National Human Rights Commission claimed it not ‘deny’ the rights of a same-sex couple to marry.

Author: Rik Glauert

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Mayor Pete Blasts Mike Pence Again for Using Religious Beliefs ‘as an Excuse to Harm Other People’ — WATCH

Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg was asked in an interview on CNN’s New Day about Mike Pence’s response to the gay South Bend mayor’s criticism of the vice president and former Indiana governor’s use of religion to attack LGBTQ people.

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Said Buttigieg: “The Vice President is entitled to his religious beliefs. My problem is when those religious beliefs are used as an excuse to harm other people. That was a huge issue for us in Indiana when he advanced a discriminatory bill in 2015 under the guise of religious freedom, that said it was lawful to discriminate, provided you invoked religion as your excuse.”

“I just believe that’s wrong,” Buttigieg continued. “This isn’t about him as a human being. This is about policies that hurt people, policies that hurt children. To this day, he has not brought himself to say that it shouldn’t be legal to discriminate against people in this country because they’re LGBT. In most parts of this country you can still be fired, denied housing, denied service because of who you are. He seems to be okay with that. I would love to see him evolve on that issue. … My quarrel with the vice president is over that.”

Buttigieg was also asked about “purposefully” not saying Donald Trump’s name, immigration pathways, Democratic strategy in 2016, interpreting scripture, and much more.

Full interview:

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