HRC Urges Action to Stop the Expansion of the Sultan of Brunei’s Hotel Chain to New York
May 8, 2014 by Jason Rahlan, Global Engagement Press Secretary
Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) called on lawmakers, activists and allies of the LGBT community to speak out against the planned expansion to New York of a hotel chain owned by the anti-LGBT Sultan of Brunei. The Sultan recently announced that he will soon introduce flogging, amputation, and stoning as possible punishments for a variety of so-called “offenses,” which include adultery and same-sex activity, among others. Last week, fines or imprisonment for "indecent behavior" and out-of-wedlock pregnancies were implemented.
According to the Dorchester Collection’s CEO, Richard Cowdray, the company plans to expand its business and add a New York location to its properties. “We would like to be in New York and that’s really our key focus,” said Cowdray in November of last year. Cowdray has said that a location in New York is a priority for the company, and he announced on Monday that he didn’t expect it to encounter any difficulties doing so, despite the outrage, condemnation, and protests following Brunei’s new laws. The Dorchester Collection, which Cowdray oversees, is owned by the Sultan and his Brunei Investment Agency.
“The Sultan of Brunei could start executing LGBT citizens as soon as next year,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “New Yorkers from all walks of life should have one simple and straight-forward message for the Sultan: take your business elsewhere."
HRC strongly condemned Brunei’s decision to soon become the eighth nation to allow for capital punishment to be used against its LGBT citizens, and called on members of the LGBT community and its allies to avoid the Dorchester Collection’s hotels. HRC President Chad Griffin sent letters to organizations with events scheduled to take place at the Beverly Hills Hotel encouraging them to find new venues, and those and many other prominent organizations are doing so.
Brunei’s decision has been widely condemned by the international community. In April, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights condemned Brunei’s penal code reforms, saying it was "deeply concerned" and that stoning was considered to be "torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" under international law.
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