The Sultan of Brunei has passed a law that makes certain sexual activities punishable by stoning to death.

Brunei-owned hotels are being boycotted by companies and individuals in a backlash against the recent passing of anti-gay legislation. The Sultan of Brunei has introduced new laws which make sodomy and extramarital sexual activity punishable by stoning to death.

This has sparked outrage on a global level with many celebrities endorsing a ‘Brunei Boycott’ campaign.

Ellen DeGeneres, who is homosexual, took to Twitter to inform her 77.4m followers of these new measures introduced in Brunei. And she plead for a  boycott on hotel chains owned by the Sultan of Brunei. These include three luxury hotels in the UK: The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane (London), and Coworth Park (Ascot).

Other celebrities, such as George Clooney and Elton John, have joined the public condemnation of Brunei. In an attempt to raise the profile of the Brunei Boycott appeal, Clooney said: “Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens? Are we going to pay for these human rights violations?”

High-profile companies have already started to boycott Brunei-owned hotels. According to a report by CNN, TV Choice magazine, The Financial Times and Deutsche Bank have all abandoned plans to host events at London’s Dorchester hotel.

In the UK, an e-petition titled ‘Call for an end to LGBT human rights violation in Brunei’ has reached over 50,000 signatures. If this figure doubles, the petition will be considered for debate in parliament.

Concluding remarks

There are early signs of success with the Boycott Brunei campaign but there is still a lot of work to do. Brunei is not the only country with barbaric anti-gay laws.

There are currently 14 jurisdictions, all governed by Sharia Law, where homosexuality could be met with capital punishment. The only reason Brunei has hit the mainstream media while the other countries have gone under the radar is because its legislation has been newly introduced.

Homosexuals could face the death penalty in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, UAE and Yemen. All of these need to be treated with equal scrutiny and public outrage.

Brunei’s case highlights a regression. Brunei’s official name is the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace. But peace is far from reality when such disproportionate and barbarous punishment is enshrined in law for sexual activities which are not even considered criminal offences in most countries across the world.

The last homosexual offence punished by the death penalty in the UK was back in 1835. Both the illegality of homosexuality and the death penalty are outdated and draconian. But here we are, in 2019, with certain countries moving backwards.

The positive news is that Brunei Boycott is gaining popularity. This is one step closer to exposing all jurisdictions where barbaric, discriminative and feudal anti-gay laws still exist.