Omar introduces bill sanctioning Brunei over anti-homosexuality law

Getty Images

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) this week introduced legislation that would bar any Brunei government official enforcing the nation’s “draconian” penal code from doing business with the U.S.

The Brunei Human Rights Act would prevent any official involved in implementing Brunei’s the laws from traveling to or doing business with the U.S., as well as require reports to Congress on how the penal code affects refugees who have fled the country. The bill would apply the sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which authorizes U.S. government sanctions against human rights violators.

“These laws are anathema to our values as humans, and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” Omar said. “The new statutes will violate the human rights of women, children and the LGBTQ+ community. This brutality runs counter to universal values of respect for human rights and freedom for people to worship and love however they choose. The United States has a duty to protect against this blatant disregard for humanity and the violation of basic rights wherever we see them.”

The nation’s criminal code, unveiled earlier this year, would impose the death penalty for homosexual sex and adultery. Amid an international outcry, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced that the country had imposed a “de facto moratorium” against enforcing the death penalty for such cases, which would continue. However, Omar’s office notes the penal code continues to authorize flogging for women who have abortions and amputations for accused thieves.

Human Rights Watch, the Human Rights Campaign, the Center for Health and Gender Equity and the Council for Global Equality have endorsed the measure, according to Omar’s office.

“We are grateful to Rep. Omar for her leadership in condemning Brunei’s draconian and horrifying laws that target LGBTQ people, women and children,” said David Stacy, HRC’s Director of Government Affairs. “In the absence of White House leadership on these issues, it is crucially important that Congressional leaders send a clear signal that this sort of persecution will not be tolerated and that the people of the United States are part of the world community in condemning this sort of hate.”

Tags Ilhan Omar

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video