Brunei has implemented “stoning to death” under sharia LGBTQ laws, showing the acute worldwide risk of visiting certain countries for LGBTQ travelers.
The UN Human Rights Commission has condemned the new measures, and celebs like Elton John and George Clooney are calling for boycotts of the Brunei Sultan’s Dorchester Collection hotel group, which includes properties like The Bel-Air and The Beverly Hills Hotel.
Included among “The Sultan’s 10”:
- Beverly Hills Hotel / Los Angeles
- Hotel Bel-Air / Los Angeles
- The Dorcester / London
- 45 Park Lane / London
- Coworth Park / Ascot (UK)
- Le Meurice / Paris
- Hotel Plaza Athenee / Paris
- Le Richemond / Geneve
- Hotel Principe di Savoia / Milan
- Hotel Eden / Rome
The boycott was sparked last week in an opinion piece by actor George Clooney, who said a boycott of the high-end hotels is necessary to keep money from flowing “directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery.”
“Are we really going to help pay for these human rights violations? Are we really going to help fund the murder of innocent citizens?” the actor added.
Since the the international backlash began, eight of the hotels have deleted some or all of their social media accounts, while another has made its profiles private. Travel agencies and airlines have also ended partnerships with the state-owned Royal Brunei Airlines and TripAdvisor has banned reviews of the hotels on its website.
Hundreds gathered outside The Dorchester hotel in London on Saturday afternoon (April 6) in protest. Campaigners surrounded the five-star complex in Mayfair, at one point breaching barriers put up outside the hotel and storming onto the building’s steps.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah instituted the sharia penal code in 2014 to bolster the influence of Islam in the oil-rich monarchy of about 430,000 people, two-thirds of whom are Muslim.
But even before 2014, homosexuality was already punishable in the country by a jail term of up to 10 years.
The first stage of the sharia penal code included fines or jail for offenses such as pregnancy out of wedlock or failing to pray on Fridays. But under the new laws, those found guilty of gay sex can be stoned to death or whipped. Adulterers risk death by stoning too, while thieves face amputation of a right hand on their first offense and a left foot on their second. The laws also apply to children and foreigners, even if they are not Muslim.