International: Human rights activists in 13 cities on four continents are conducting an “international day of action” on June 27 to press for the Sultan of Brunei to repeal anti-gay laws that he recently promulgated.
The protests called #StopTheSultan, are being organized by LGBT groups and labor unions in every country where the Sultan’s Dorchester Collection owns hotels, according to icito.com.
Rallies are also taking place at the Brunei embassies in Washington D.C., United States; Brussels, Belgium; Canberra, Australia; New Delhi, India; Manila, the Philippines; and Ottawa, Canada.
The campaign has its own Facebook page to force the sultan to repeal a harsh new penal code that calls for stoning gays and adulterers.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama‘s national security advisor singled out Brunei as one of the world’s worst transgressors against gay rights. “Unfortunately, in too many places, being gay or transgender is enough to make someone the target of slurs, torments, and violence,” Susan Rice told a group of LGBT activists at the White House.
“In many places, allies and supporters of the LGBT community are also penalized,” Rice pointed adding, “In seven countries — eight, if Brunei continues on its path — same-sex acts are punishable by death.”
She said that the Obama Administration has specifically directed that American diplomacy and assistance promote and protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender men and women, all around the world.
“We’ve made it clear that the United States will respond appropriately when nations target their own citizens,” Rice said.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the absolute ruler of the tiny Southeast Asian kingdom had May 1 decreed into law the strict Islamic Sharia penal code that will include calls for flogging, dismemberment and lead to death by stoning for crimes of a sexual nature, including those of same-sex relations.
Same-sex relations have long been a crime in Brunei, but the maximum punishment till now has been a 10-year prison sentence.
Brunei is extremely wealthy because of its petroleum and natural gas fields and is classified as a developed country. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is reputed to be one of the world’s richest with an estimated net worth of $20 billion. He has been head of state since 1967.