News & Politics

Brunei’s ‘Kill-a-Gay’ and ‘Flog-a-Woman’ Laws Force Feminist Group to Pull Gala Event from Sultan's Beverly Hills Hotel

Human rights advocates launch a petition against the hotel’s owner, the Sultan of Brunei, calling for revocation of the “Taliban-like” rules.

The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), an L.A. based women’s rights organization is pulling its annual Global Women’s Rights Awards from the Beverly Hills Hotel after discovering the hotel’s owner, The Sultan of Brunei, is set to impose a “Taliban-like” penal code including the stoning to death of gay men and lesbians and the public flogging of women who have abortions.

The draconian laws will be implemented in three stages over three years beginning today, May 1st prompting immediate action from the FMF to join forces with LGBT community and international community in protest.

Today, FMF launched a massive social media petition entitled #Stop The Sultan calling on the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, and his government to rescind the new code.  The women’s rights organization is also asking the United Nations to take action should the laws go into full effect, organizing a protest at noon across from the hotel on Sunset Boulevard on May 5th.

"We cannot hold a human rights and women's rights event at a hotel whose owner would institute a penal code that fundamentally violates women's rights and human rights,” said FMF President Eleanor Smeal in a press release.

Instead, the FMF will hold the gala event co-chaired by Jay and Mavis Leno on the evening of May 5 at the rival Hammer Museum in Westwood, Los Angeles following the planned day of demonstrations.

“‘Kill-a-gay’ laws, or laws that allow the flogging of women for abortion, violate international law and have no place in civilized society,” FMF Board Member Mavis Leno said.

A host of other celebrities including Stephen FryEllen DeGeneres and Sharon Osbourne have also called for a boycott of the penal code, according to Pink

The first stage of the laws going into effect today will include fines and prisons sentences, followed by the second phase, which includes corporal punishment such as amputations and flogging women who have abortions. The stoning to death of gay men and lesbians is slated for the third phase, according to FMF, replacing the maximum ten-year prison sentence for homosexuality. 

The United Nations has since condemned the proposed laws as a gross breach of international human rights contrary to international law and is scheduled to conduct its Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review in the country this week.

What's more, Amnesty International said the laws, which legalize cruel and inhumane punishments including stoning to death, whipping and amputation, made a mockery of the country’s alleged commitment to human rights.

Currently, the Sultan of Brunei controls the multimillion-dollar Brunei Investment Agency, which owns a number of five star luxury hotels and properties in the United States including the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Bel-Air Hotel and Dorchester Collection Properties.

Sign the Petition here and take action!

Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.


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