December 30th 2020 | USCIRF

Since it’s independence in 1984, Brunei has operated with a dual legal system: one secular and one Shari’a, the latter only enforceable for Bruneian Muslims. However, the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 blurs those lines. The country started fully implimenting this new penal code in 2019. It is the end result of decades of pushing by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah for a hardline interpretation of Shari’ah to be incorporated in the penal code.

Listen to our discussion about the religious freedom implications of Brunei’s legal system in USCIRF Spotlight.

Dwight Bashir, Director of Policy and Outreach, USCIRF
Patrick Greenwalt, Researcher, USCIRF