University of Oxford refuses to revoke the Sultan of Brunei's honorary degree


On Thursday the company, Australia's second-biggest airline after Qantas, sent an email to employees explaining the new sharia code, which came into effect on Wednesday, applies to Muslims, non-Muslims and foreigners "even when transiting on Brunei-registered aircraft and vessels".

A view of the headquarters of German bank Deutsche Bank in London on 5 May 2017.

The nine hotels in the Dorchester Collection are owned by the country's sovereign wealth fund, the Brunei Investment Agency.

The new punishments have been met with widespread condemnation, with the United Nations branding the laws "cruel and inhumane" and the foreign ministries of Germany, France and Australia have also protested the plan and called on Brunei to abolish the new rulings.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called on the Sultanate of Brunei to withdraw the death penalty by stoning for homosexual acts.

A statement provided to the Daily Beast said that the United States has " encouraged Brunei to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which it signed in 2015, and to sign, ratify, and implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights".

In a guest column for, George Clooney wrote about how Brunei, a small, rich country with oil, would "begin stoning and whipping to death any of its citizens that are proved to be gay".

Commonwealth Secretary General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC [Getty Images] She continued: "I have communicated my concern to the Government of Brunei, strongly urging it to reconsider the introduction of the punishments proposed under the new Penal Code which, if implemented in its current form, will potentially bring into effect cruel and inhuman punishments which contravene global human rights law and standards". "So long as people face criminalisation, bias and violence based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, we must redouble our efforts to end these violations".

Zulhelmi bin Mohamad, a transgender woman who fled Brunei a year ago and is seeking asylum in Canada, told AFP that the environment will be more terrifying for the country´s LGBT community, who were already leading "very secretive" lives.

The harsh penalties have been included in the Southeast Asian country's Sharia Penal Code, which was instituted in 2014 by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

The third and final set of laws was what was scheduled to come into force on 3 April.

Offences such as rape, adultery, sodomy, robbery and insult or defamation of the Prophet Muhammad will carry the maximum penalty of death. They include two where Hollywood moguls dine and entertainment glitterati are feted during awards season: the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles.

In a public address to mark a special date in the Muslim calendar, the sultan called for stronger Islamic teachings but did not mention the new penal code.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah owns nine luxury hotels around the world, three of which are in the United Kingdom, and prominent celebrities have called for a boycott of the Brunei-owned hotels.