FORUM-ASIA has released its 2014 Annual Report. Founded in Manila in 1991 to promote and protect human rights through fostering collaboration and cooperation among human rights organisations and defenders throughout Asia, FORUM-ASIA has established itself as one of Asia's leading human rights organisations, with a coalition of 47 member organisations from 16 countries. Click on the button below to view FORUM-ASIA's 2014 Annual Report.
Act now and demand that Southeast Asian governments immediately help thousands of stranded migrants and refugees
Please support efforts by Amnesty International and other human rights groups by writing to Southeast Asian governments urging them to help the estimated 8000 refugees and migrants stranded at sea. Click on the link below for more information from Amnesty International Malaysia and to access a sample letter that can be used. So far, the Philippines is the only Southeast Asian government to have offered refuge to some of the stranded, agreeing on Monday to accept 3000 of the refugees. The Brunei Project welcomes this commitment by the Philippines Government and urges other regional governments to follow Manila's lead.
Since 2004, May 17 has been commemorated around the world as the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) and is used to draw the attention of the world's policymakers, media and others to the discrimination and violence experienced by the LGBTIQ* community globally. In 2014, there were 1600 events held across more than 130 countries to mark IDAHOT. Awareness and recognition of the discrimination faced by LGBTIQ-identifying people is growing and the number of countries that promote homophobia and transphobia by way of discriminatory and unjust laws continues to decline. Whereas the number of countries criminalising homosexuality in 2006 was 92, the figure has now dropped to 76 in 2015.
Despite the gains that have been made in the global fight against homophobia and transphobia, much more still needs to be done. LGBTIQ people continue to face persecution in many parts of the world, including in the form of imprisonment and, in some cases, even death. Among those countries that continue to criminalise same-sex relations is Brunei, where under current laws people found guilty of same-sex relations can face imprisonment of up to 10 years. If Brunei continues with full implementation of the Syariah Penal Code, punishment of LGBTIQ people will be taken even further with a range of "offences" attracting penalties that include fines, whipping, imprisonment and, most disturbing of all, stoning to death for males found guilty of same-sex relations. The first phase of the Syariah Penal Code was implemented in May 2014 and in March this year, the first member of Brunei's LGBTIQ community known to have been prosecuted under the Syariah Penal Code was a man fined for crossdressing in October 2014.
This International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, The Brunei Project calls on Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah to show compassion by repealing all laws that target the LGBTIQ community in Brunei and to implement policies that protect the rights of LGBTIQ people.
* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Intersex, Questioning (LGBTIQ)
The Brunei Project is a new initiative launched on 1 May 2015 to coincide with the first anniversary of the Syariah Penal Code. Already restrictive in the freedom and rights it allowed its citizens, Brunei's decision to implement the Syariah Penal Code in its current form caused widespread concern about how human rights in the country would further diminish. Having witnessed a deterioration in rights and freedom in Brunei in the twelve months since the Syariah Penal Code began being implemented, particularly in relation to cultural and religious freedom and free speech, The Brunei Project was born with the aim of increasing awareness about human rights.
Although Brunei's citizens enjoy a reasonable standard of living and are afforded many benefits, such as free education and free healthcare, it comes at a cost as they are denied many of the fundamental rights and freedoms to which everyone is entitled. Among the issues of concern are religious and cultural freedom, free speech, press freedom and LGBT rights. While The Brunei Project is primarily concerned with Brunei, there is also a global focus. None of the human rights concerns in Brunei are unique to the country and by raising awareness about Brunei's human rights responsibilities and highlighting human rights issues that can be found around the world, The Brunei Project seeks to facilitate a greater understanding and respect for human rights.
The Brunei Project is an entirely independent entity with no connection to any government or organisation. It is, however, connected to other human rights defenders and organisations by way of a shared commitment to promoting human rights as an inherent entitlement of all. With no independent human rights organisations active in Brunei, The Brunei Project is committed to closely monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in Brunei, as well as acting as a wider source of information on human rights issues.
Follow The Brunei Project on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thebruneiproject