The U.S. State Department last week criticized implementation of a penal code in Brunei that makes gay sex punishable by death.

The penal code, which is based on Shariah Law, makes gay sex and adultery punishable by death in Brunei, an oil-rich Southeast Asian nation. The law took effect on Wednesday.

“All governments have an obligation to ensure that all people can freely enjoy the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled,” State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a statement. “The United States strongly opposes violence, criminalization and discrimination targeting vulnerable groups, including women at risk of violence, religious and ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons.”

“We continue to encourage Brunei to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which it signed in 2015, and to sign, ratify, and implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” Palladino added.

Implementation of the law has been widely criticized and sparked renewed calls to boycott nine hotels owned by Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, who is considered one of the richest persons in the world. Two of the properties are located in California.

Celebrities backing the boycott include George Clooney, Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John and Billie Jean King.

(Related: Billie Jean King joins celebrities calling for boycott of Sultan of Brunei's hotels.)