Statement from the Secretary-General regarding Brunei Darussalam

The Commonwealth Secretary-General has urged the government of Brunei to reconsider and revoke implementation of its proposed punishments under its proposed new Penal Code, that took effect on 3 April 2019.

In a statement the Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “Brunei Darussalam has been a respected member of the Commonwealth family of nations since 1984 and has committed itself to upholding the values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter which underscores a commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights covenants and international instruments. It also commits member states to equality and respect for the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, for all without discrimination on any grounds as the foundations of peaceful, just and stable societies.

“I have communicated my concern to the Government of Brunei, strongly urging it to reconsider the introduction of the punishments proposed under the new Penal Code which, if implemented in its current form, will potentially bring into effect cruel and inhuman punishments which contravene international human rights law and standards. 

“The Commonwealth Secretariat is ready and willing to provide Brunei Darussalam with technical assistance and to advise on the formulation of a revised Penal Code in accordance with the values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter and in compliance with international human rights law and obligations including on the issue of harmonisation.”