Rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Malaysian authorities to ban the punishment of cannabis in connection with the conviction of a lesbian couple for same-sex partners.
On August 12, the two women were sentenced to six blows with a stick and a fine equal to £ 600 in the state of Terengganu, which criminalises sexual relations between women.
Should the corporal punishment be carried out according to plan on 28 August, this would be the first time that two women were released for same-sex partners in the state, the local media reported.
The sentence came in the midst of a series of homophobic and transphobic statements by members of the new government of Malaysia, who had been elected to power in May to defeat the ruling coalition, led by the shame of prime minister Najib Razak, who also opposed the recognition of LGBT + rights in the country.
"The planned caning of two women is the latest blow to the LGBT community in Malaysia, which had hoped for better protection under the new government of the country," says Graeme Reid, director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) ) HRW's rights program, said in a statement from the organization.
The statement also calls on the Malaysian government to drop the case against the lesbian couple and notes that Caning is torture under international human rights law.
The new Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad promised that his government would be "certainly better" than the previous government, but the desire to improve the situation of the country does not seem to include the LGBT + rights. The country has a law that criminalizes homosexuality, a remnant of British colonial rule that has yet to be withdrawn.
Earlier in August, Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa commissioned an art festival to remove portraits of local LGBT + activists. Last weekend, the police searched a gay bar in the capital of the country, Kuala Lumpur, which according to the authorities was carried out to 'stop the LGBT culture from spreading in our society.
According to Reid of HRW, strokes would contribute to the climate of anti-LGBT sentiment. "This prosecution and punishment will only feed the recent wave of homophobia and transphobia in Malaysia," he said.
"The new government of Malaysia must oppose discrimination and brutality and promote a culture of tolerance and equality," he added, calling on the country to "abolish all laws against homosexual behavior and put an end to the cruel practice of caning once and for all ".