While the Sultan of Brunei announced a moratorium on the execution of the death penalty for same-sex relations, it seems nothing much actually changes for the LGBT community there.
Anti-Gay Laws Still In Place In Brunei
The Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah doubles as the country’s Prime Minister. Wearing these different hats, he has announced Brunei won’t be enforcing the death penalty for gay sex. It seems that after global pressure, the Sultan felt the need to show the world they can calm the hell down already.
But no laws have been changed, all that has happened is that there’s now a moratorium on the execution of the death penalty for homosexuality. The death penalty hasn’t been carried out there for decades. Since Brunei has a monarchy in place, one can doubt how meaningful this statement by the Sultan really is. He can basically end the moratorium in one and the same day.
There are other countries like Pakistan where the death penalty is in place for same-sex relations, but not carried out. This also doesn’t mean all is okay.
LGBT Bruneians still risk getting fined, jailed, and whipped. Rights group The Brunei Project has warned that there are also new laws in place limiting the freedom of speech and freedom of religion there.
When it comes to global protest, Los Angeles will still press a boycott on the Beverly Hills hotel which is owned by the government of Brunei. George Clooney, Elton John, and Ellen DeGeneres were at the forefront of this boycott. It looks as though not everyone is convinced by the Sultan promising to focus away from punishment to instead ’educate, deter, rehabilitate and nurture’, as his letter read.
Despite repressive laws impeding lives, censorship, limited freedom of speech, and breaches of privacy, people will still want to express themselves and try to live their lives the best way they can.
When it comes to using the internet freely, using a VPN could be useful.
Getting Around Censorship And Lack Of Freedom Of Speech Online With A VPN
While sometimes it may be easier to express yourself online than in real life, there are ways to better protect yourself online. Aside from that, getting access to banned websites and different media outlets is a need many feel.
With a subscription to a VPN, you can hide an IP address and be anonymous. A VPN will encrypt your traffic so internet service providers and the government will not be able to watch your online activities.
A subscription to the right VPN also gives access to servers in different countries. This way it’s possible to follow different media outlets and to access banned pornography, websites or apps like Grindr.
It bears mentioning that using free VPNs can be risky as your data might not actually be safe. Offering good service costs money.
If you’re curious about using VPNs with Tor, check out this article. It also lists good recommendations for VPNs good for privacy.
Using a VPN in a country with repressive laws doesn’t give you safety or guarantees outright. But it may provide more options that are currently available and could be worth checking out for that reason.