George Clooney has called for a boycott of several luxury hotels in Los Angeles and Europe with ties to Brunei, a small kingdom in Asia that recently imposed new Sharia laws to make adultery and homosexual sex an offence punishable by death. Since 3 April when the law was imposed, there has been international outcry from governments, celebrities and activists alike.

Here’s what you need to know:



The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, first announced the strict Islamic laws in 2014 and they have been rolled out since.

The new laws state that:

  • Anyone found to be stealing could face losing a hand or a foot via amputation
  • Anyone who has a child outside of wedlock could face prison
  • People found to have engaged in homosexual sex (sodomy) or adultery will face stoning to death, “in front of a Muslim audience”
  • Lesbian sex has a punishment of 40 strokes of a cane and/or 10 years in prison
  • Those who “persuade, tell or encourage” Muslim children under the age of 18 “to accept the teachings of religions other than Islam” are liable to a fine or jail



A viral campaign to boycott a group of nine luxury hotels called the Dorchester Collective, has led to eight of the hotels deleting their Twitter.

George Clooney, who began the boycott said:

‘’Every single time we stay at, or take meetings at, or dine at any of these nine hotels, we are putting money straight into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery.’’

Other celebs have also taken a stand on social media, including Ellen DeGeneres and Sir Elton John:





Nearly 60,000 people have signed a petition to have Oxford University revoke an honorary degree given to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in 1993.

On Saturday 6 April, the University said it would reconsider its decision to award the honorary degree to Bolkiah.

Oxford University confirmed in a statement that they shared in the “international revulsion” at the new laws.



On Saturday 6 April, over 100 people gathered in protest outside the Dorchester Hotel in central London led by human rights activist Peter Tatchell, who said:

“If the Sultan will not listen to reason and compassion, we believe the British Government should sever all diplomatic, economic and military ties with the regime.”

The TV Choice awards recently announced it would no longer be holding its event there.

There have been calls for the Sultan to be stripped of his honorary military titles of Air Chief Marshal in the RAF and Admiral of the Royal Navy, which were awarded to him by the Queen.



Stephen Cockburn, Deputy director of Global Issues at Amnesty International said:

“This new penal code allows punishments such as amputation or death by stoning which are unspeakably cruel and have no place anywhere in the world.

“The Brunei authorities must refrain from implementing these laws, and must take necessary steps to repeal this unacceptable legislation and bring it in line with international human rights laws and standards.”






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Image courtesy of Sara Rampazzo via Unsplash


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