There has been an international backlash against Brunei since it emerged the country was planning to introduce anti-LGBTQ laws.
The new laws set to be enforced in April, will see men convicted of homosexuality face penalties like whipping or even death by stoning. There has been an international backlash, with many countries urging Brunei not to introduce the laws.
Hollywood star George Clooney also urged for a boycott of hotels owned by Brunei. In an op-ed for Deadline, he wrote: “Every single time we stay at or take meetings at or dine at any of these nine hotels we are putting money directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery.”
“Brunei is a Monarchy and certainly any boycott would have little effect on changing these laws. But are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations? Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?”
And his campaign has received the backing of Sir Elton John. Writing on Twitter, Sir Elton said: “I believe that love is love and being able to love as we choose is a basic human right.
“Wherever we go, my husband David and I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect – as do each and every one of the millions of LGBTQ+ people around the world.
“I commend my friend, #GeorgeClooney, for taking a stand against the anti-gay discrimination and bigotry taking place in the nation of #Brunei – a place where gay people are brutalized, or worse – by boycotting the Sultan’s hotels.”
He then added how his heart went out to employees of the hotels, saying: “Our hearts go out to the good, hardworking employees of properties owned by the Sultan of Brunei, many of whom we know to be gay.”
Sir Elton continued, adding: “We must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable. That’s why David and I have long refused to stay at these hotels and will continue to do so. We hope you will join us in solidarity.”
His final tweet on the matter consisted of a list of the hotels to boycott.
Here are the hotels to boycott:
The Dorchester, London
45 Park Lane, London
Coworth Park, UK
The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills
Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
Le Meurice, Paris
Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris
Hotel Eden, Rome
Hotel Principe di Savoia, Mi
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) March 30, 2019
Brunei meanwhile has attempted to defend the new laws. In a statement, the government said: “Brunei Darussalam is a sovereign Islamic and fully independent country and, like all other independent countries, enforces its own rule of laws.
“Brunei Darussalam has always been practising a dual legal system, one that is based on the Syariah Law and the other on Common Law.
“In fully implementing the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 from 3rd April 2019, both systems will continue to run in parallel to maintain peace and order and preserve religion, life, family and individuals regardless of gender, nationality, race and faith.
“The Syariah Law, apart from criminalising and deterring acts that are against the teachings of Islam, it also aims to educate, respect and protect the legitimate rights of all individuals, society or nationality of any faiths and race.”
Unsurprisingly, despite mentioning protecting and respecting the rights of individuals and maintaining peace and order, the statement fails to mention how LGBTQ people should have legitimate rights that should be protected and respected.