Brunei government again defends penal code

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The government of Brunei continues to defend the country’s new penal code that includes the death penalty for anyone found guilty of consensual same-sex sexual relations.

“We reaffirm that the Syariah criminal law system focuses more on prevention than punishment. Its aim is to educate, deter, rehabilitate and nurture rather than to punish,” wrote Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof, the country’s minister of foreign affairs, in a letter it sent to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights on April 7. “It seeks to strike the right balance between protecting the rights of the accused person and the rights of the victims and their families.”

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Activists in Commonwealth countries respond to India sodomy law ruling

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Activists in Commonwealth nations with whom the Washington Blade spoke this week said it remains unclear whether last week’s landmark India Supreme Court ruling that struck down the country’s colonial-era sodomy law will bolster efforts to decriminalize homosexuality in their own countries.

Maurice Tomlinson is a senior policy analysist with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network who is challenging Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law. He also represents three LGBTI Barbadians who are challenging a similar statute in their country.

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