Brunei has finalised laws that will see gay people imprisoned, tortured and, potentially, stoned to death. In the strongest terms Australia must work harder than it ever has to protect the human rights of LGBTIQ citizens in our region. Other conservative nations are watching and, if Australia and other western nations do not activate now, which country will be next to begin murdering us?
To: Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten
What do we want?
1. Continued strong, public condemnation from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten of Brunei’s new penal code, which includes death by stoning for homosexuality, adultery, blasphemy and apostasy.
2. Withdrawal of Australia’s High Commissioner to Brunei.
3. Expulsion of Brunei’s High Commissioner to Australia.
4. A ban on Royal Brunei Airlines from Australian airspace.
5. A moratorium on Australian Government use of commercial services owned by the Brunei Government or any of its business and agencies, including accommodation venues, conference facilities, restaurant and catering outlets, professional services, transport and any other commercial operations.
6. A declaration that Brunei is in breach of the Commonwealth of Nations charter, and the Commonwealth’s Harare Declaration, and that Brunei’s membership of the Commonwealth must be suspended.
Why do we want it?
A human rights emergency is developing on Australia’s doorstep. Not only do Brunei’s new laws represent a dire threat to Bruneians, they set a dangerous new precedent in neighbouring South-East Asia.
Australia, more than most countries, had the power to do something about it.
Australia was one of the first nations in the world to establish diplomatic relations with Brunei. The two nations have traditionally enjoyed a warm relationship with strong ties in defence, security, education and trade.
Both nations are in the same region of the world, both are full members of the Commonwealth, and both are parties to the ASEAN-Australian-New Zealand Free Trade agreement, among other treaties and agreements.
Australia is therefore in a unique position to influence Brunei and address the worrying new developments in South-East Asia.