Asian Region of The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Joint Statement of ASEAN Civil Society Organizations on the Full Enforcement of Sharia Law in Brunei Darussalam

Joint Statement of ASEAN Civil Society Organizations on the Full Enforcement of Sharia Law in Brunei Darussalam

3rd April 2019

We, the undersigned civil society organizations in the ASEAN region, urge the government of Brunei to immediately halt the full implementation of the Sharia Penal Code (SPC). The said law entails provisions that contradict international human rights standards, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) and the ASEAN Charter. Brunei has signed and ratified these instruments, and thereby must show commitment to respect, protect and fulfill its obligations. Moreover, Brunei should recognize the  importance of progressive development of human rights therefore moving away from corporal punishment and death penalty.

By enforcing the SPC, Brunei will set a dangerous precedent for its neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia and broader Asia as it perpetuates the practice of violating fundamental freedoms, particularly freedom of expression, in the region.

We acknowledge the Brunei government’s intention to “maintain peace and order and preserve religion, life, family and individuals regardless of gender, nationality, race and faith” being a rationale behind the SPC. However, there are provisions in the law that provides excessive penalties, including whipping, imprisonment and death penalty, against those who commit adultery, consensual same-sex relations, pregnancy out of wedlock, access to abortion, and acts critical of state-interpretation of Islam.

The SPC inevitably ends up disproportionately targeting those who are already vulnerable and socially marginalised, including women, children, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people, the economically disadvantaged, religious minorities, and dissenting voices. The penalties imposed by the law, including whipping and stoning to death, constitutes torture, ill-treatment, and inhumane and degrading punishment. As a consequence, this will further silence dissent, create a culture of fear among its people, and further shrink civic space in the country.  A country that cares for its citizens needs to look out for those more vulnerable to discrimination, violence and injustice, and seek to protect them first.

By adopting conservative views of morality and excessive punishments, Brunei essentially legitimizes violence. The law and its enforcement will encourage extremist and fundamentalist groups in the region to continue sowing fear, social discord and violence.

We reiterate the commitment of ASEAN Member States Leaders under the ASEAN Community 2025 to realise a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centred community bound by fundamental principles, shared values and norms, in which our peoples enjoy human rights, fundamental freedoms, and social justice. The current situation in Brunei reflects the contrary, and will have negative implication to jeopardise the vision of ASEAN and consequently the identity of ASEAN as a collective region.

We urge Brunei to uphold its name being an “abode of peace”, a society that upholds and respects diversity, where difference is approached with compassion.

We look forward to seeing Brunei become a role model in ASEAN, as the region strives towards the better practices of democracy in partnership with civil society. We hope Brunei will strive to achieve this through the sharing of prosperity and by respecting the equal rights of all.


  1. ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC)

  2. Human Right Working Group (HRWG)

  3. Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI)

  4. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

  5. Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW)

  6. Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA)

  7. Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN)

  8. ILGA Asia

  9. Intersex Asia

  10. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)

  11. APCOM

  12. Youth Voices Count (YVC)

  13. ASEAN Youth Forum (AYF)

  14. Sangsan Anakot Yaowachon Development Project (Sangsan), Thailand

  15. LovePattaya, Thailand

  16. Sapaan publishing, Thailand

  17. Health and Opportunity Network, Thailand

  18. BUKU CLASSROOM, Thailand

  19. Backyard Politics, Thailand

  20. The Foundation of Transgender Alliance for Human Rights, Thailand

  21. Diversity Ants, Thailand

  22. Foundation for SOGI Rights and Justice, Thailand

  23. Togetherness for Equality and Action - TEA, Thailand

  24. Young Pride Club, Thailand

  25. Phayao Youth News Agency, Thailand

  26. Foundation for AIDS Rights, Thailand

  27. Non-binary Thailand

  28. Hinghoy Noy Organization, Thailand

  29. Prism Digital Magazine, Thailand

  30. Thai Network of Youth living with HIV, Thailand

  31. Prayoonsritrang Group, Thailand

  32. TAMTANG GROUP Advocacy for Safe Abortion, Thailand

  33. Service Workers in Group Foundation (SWING), Thailand

  34. 1448 For All (Marriage Equality For All), Thailand

  35. TEAK - Trans Empowerment, Thailand

  36. Thai Positive Women Foundation, Thailand

  37. B Visible Asia

  38. Mplus foundation, Thailand

  39. Namkwan Sky Rainbow Phayao, Thailand

  40. Bangkok Rainbow, Thailand

  41. SAGA Thailand - Sexual and Gender Acceptance

  42. Thai Association of Population and Social Researcher


  44. Sexual Studies Association, Thailand

  45. Women's Wellbeing and Gender Justice Program, Thailand

  46. Sikhoraphum Youth, Thailand

  47. Pink Mango, Thailand

  48. Support Group and Resource Center on Sexuality Studies Indonesia (SGRC UI), Indonesia

  49. Study and Peace (SPACE) UNJ, Indonesia

  50. Diponegoro Gender and Human Rights Center (DipoGHRC), Indonesia

  51. Arus Pelangi, Indonesia

  52. Iloilo Pride Team, Philippines

  53. Bahaghari-Iloilo, Philippines

  54. PELANGI Campaign, Malaysia

  55. PLUHO, People Like Us Hang Out!, Malaysia

  56. UniGEN - Leave no one behind, Vietnam

  57. NYNO - Nam Yeu Nam Organization, Vietnam

  58. NYNA - Nu Yeu Nu Organization, Vietnam

  59. Hoa Thi - The Asterisk, Vietnam

  60. DNP - Working Group for LGBT+ Rights at Dong Nai Province, Vietnam

  61. ERMC - Equal Rights for Minority Communities, Vietnam

  62. Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA), Indonesia

  63. Perkumpulan Inti Muda Indonesia

  64. MyPJ, Malaysia

  65. Justice for Sisters, Malaysia

  66. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS), Malaysia

  67. Manushya Foundation, Thailand

  68. Beyond Borders, Malaysia

  69. TNP - Working Group for Human Rights at Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam

  70. People Like Us Support Ourselves (PLUSOS), Malaysia

  71. Maruah, Singapore

  72. Committee for the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

  73. Equal Asia Foundation (EAF)

  74. Sisters in Islam, Malaysia

  75. Seksualiti Merdeka, Malaysia

  76. Queer Lapis, Malaysia

  77. Art For Grabs, Malaysia

  78. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), 8Malaysia

  79. Queer Academics, Students and Supporters Alliance (QUASSA), Malaysia

  80. IT’S T TIME Organization, Vietnam (ITT)

  81. PurpleCode Collective, Indonesia

  82. Serikat Jurnalis Untuk Keberagaman (SEJUK), Indonesia

  83. Peace Women Across the Globe (PWAG), Indonesia

  84. Acting for Community Development (ACD TAYNINH), Vietnam

  85. Tay Ninh LGBTQ’S Community, Vietnam

  86. PFLAG Viet Nam

  87. Sanggar Swara, Indonesia

  88. Southeast Rainbow School, Vietnam

  89., Vietnam

  90. LGBTIQ Community VietNam

  91. Sayoni, Singapore

  92. Simply, I am GAY -, Vietnam

  93. Degenderration Confederation, Vietnam

  94. Malaysian Atheists and Secular Humanists, Malaysia

  95. Inside Out House, Vietnam

  96. LEA, Vietnam

  97. Ychange, Vietnam

  98. CAMASEAN, Cambodia

  99. Rainbow Community Kampuchea (ROCK), Cambodia

  100. Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), Cambodia

  101. Pioneer Filipino Transgender Men Movement, Philippines

  102. Ha Noi Queer, Vietnam

  103. Sai Gon Queer, Vietnam

  104. Side B Philippines

  105. NextGEN Hanoi, Vietnam

  106. Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI)

  107. Shepluspride, Singapore

  108. LumiQueer, Vietnam

  109. Salzburg Global LGBT Forum

  110. APCASO

  111. Indigenous Women Network Thailand (IWNT)

  112. 6+, Vietnam

  113. Jakarta Feminist Discussion Group, Indonesia

First Mailing for the 8th ILGA Asia Conference

First Mailing for the 8th ILGA Asia Conference

Statement on the implementation of the Sharia Penal Code in Brunei

Statement on the implementation of the Sharia Penal Code in Brunei