Sharia in Nigeria and Afghanistan
Delivered in Plenary - 11th April 2002
A number of countries around the world have re-introduced sharia law in recent years, including parts of Nigeria. In the Sudan, sharia has even been used against Christians, contrary to Islamic teaching.
We are not talking here of the death penalty as such, which remains legal in international law and is still practised in a number of democracies - not only the United States but also Russia, India, Carribean Islands, Japan and Singapore, to name a few. Indeed, in my own party in the U.K. the death penalty remains a matter of individual conscience, with many, myself included, in favour of its restricted application for the most heinous of crimes such as child-murder and serial killing. Tens of millions of European citizens also share this view.
In Nigeria, however, we have the terrible spectacle of women being executed for simple adultery, by a barbarically slow and painful method.
It is always difficult to interfere in the customs of others, but I think it important that as a Parliament we transmit our abhorrence of this practice without delay to the Nigerian government.
Furthermore I recently heard that Afghanistan has no plans to abrogate the Sharia criminal code including stoning to death for adultery. I am of the view that given the fact that the EU is the largest donor to reconstruct this country to the tune of over 1 billion Euros that we should make the aid conditional on the cessation of these unacceptable practices. Both Nigeria and Afghanistan are members of the international community and signatories to various International conventions guaranteeing human rights. I believe like all members of this house that such Sharia punishments are unacceptable at the dawn of the 21st century.