The European Union has condemned Brunei's new laws, saying some of the "cruel" punishments now permitted under a sharia penal code amount to torture and breach international human rights agreements.

The legislation introduced in Brunei, which includes death by stoning for adultery and gay sex, as well as amputation of hands and feet for thieves, has triggered a global criticism from politicians, celebrities and rights groups.

"Some of the punishments foreseen in the criminal code amount to torture, acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment," an EU spokesperson said in a statement.

The statement said the punishments breached the UN convention against torture, which Brunei signed up to in 2015.

"It is critical that the government of Brunei-Darussalam ensures that the implementation of the Penal Code Order does not infringe on human rights and is fully consistent with all international and regional human rights commitments and obligations undertaken by Brunei-Darussalam," the statement said, adding that the EU expected Brunei to maintain its de facto moratorium on executions.

The laws make Brunei - ruled by the all-powerful Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah - the first place in east or southeast Asia to have a sharia penal code at the national level, joining several mostly Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia.

The decision to push ahead with the punishments after years of delays has sparked alarm, with the UN labelling them "cruel and inhumane" and celebrities led by actor George Clooney and pop star Elton John calling for a boycott of Brunei-owned hotels.

The tough penal code in the tiny country on tropical Borneo island - will fully come into force following years of delays.

The sultan has shown no sign of backing down despite the criticism, and the Muslim-majority country issued a statement at the weekend insisting that Brunei "enforces its own rule of law" and sharia "aims to educate, respect and protect the legitimate rights of all individuals".

The sultan is due to attend a public event today, and may make an announcement related to the implementation of the laws.

The sultan - who is one of the world's wealthiest men and lives in a vast, golden-domed palace - announced plans for the penal code in 2013 and the first phase was introduced the following year.

 Hotel Eden in Rome, belongs to the Dorchester Collection, owned by the Brunei Investment Agency

This included less stringent penalties, such as fines or jail terms for offences including indecent behaviour, failure to attend Friday prayers, and out-of-wedlock pregnancies.

A series of well-known figures have lined up to add to their names to the chorus of condemnation, including former US vice president Joe Biden and actress Jamie Lee Curtis.

Phil Robertson, Asia deputy director for Human Rights Watch, said: "This kind of law doesn't belong in the 21st century. It's going to be something that will turn Brunei into a human rights pariah."

The Beverly Hills Hotel, pictured in 2014, is another Brunei-owned hotel

The sultan, who is the world's second-longest reigning monarch, is unlikely to change course, however. He first called for the penal code in the late 1990s and it appears to enjoy broad support in the former British protectorate of about 400,000 people.

Analysts say he is seeking to burnish his Islamic credentials and shore up support among the country's conservatives due to the waning fortunes of the oil-dependent economy, which has been badly hit by recession in recent years.

It is also unclear whether death by stoning will actually be implemented, as a high burden of proof is needed to hand down the punishment and Brunei has not executed anyone for decades.