HRC Blog

With Plaza Hotel Sale, Sultan of Brunei Could Expand to New York

Today HRC renewed its call to lawmakers, advocates, and supporters of the rights of women and LGBT people in New York to speak out against any effort by the Sultan of Brunei to acquire a hotel in the city. The Sultan currently owns two in the United States—The Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air, both of which are in California.

According to the UK-based The Times, the Sultan of Brunei is seen as the favorite to obtain three hotels––The Plaza Hotel and the Dream Downtown hotel in New York, as well as The Grosvenor House Hotel in London––for an estimated $2.2 billion.  All three are being sold by the Sahara Group’s chairman, Subrata Roy, who is seeking to sell his stakes in the hotels.

The Sultan has faced an international backlash following his decision in May to begin implementing a horrific series of penal code reforms that could lead to the stoning of women and LGBT Bruneians.

“The Sultan of Brunei could start executing women and LGBT people in Brunei as soon as next year,” said Ty Cobb, HRC’s Director of Global Engagement “The American profit stream that flows from his hotels back to his regime needs to stop.  We urge all New Yorkers to have one simple and straight-forward message for the Sultan: take your business elsewhere."

HRC strongly condemned Brunei’s decision to become a nation that allows for capital punishment to be used against women and LGBT people, and called on Americans to avoid his hotels.  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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