Deutsche Bank drops Brunei's Dorchester hotels over anti-gay law

Despite heavy backlash from the global community, Brunei, the small nation of about 450,000 people on the island of Borneo, went ahead with enacting its new Islamic criminal laws Wednesday, which makes gay sex punishable by stoning to death.

Ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the small nation had already made homosexuality punishable by 10 years imprisonment, but these new strict teachings have incited feat into the Brunei public and elsewhere.

An honorary degree awarded to the Sultan of Brunei by Aberdeen University is now under review after his country plans to implement a law which sees gay sex punishable by death. Under the new penal code, caning is also a possible punishment.

Hassanal, who has reigned since 1967, has previously said the Penal Code should be regarded as a form of "special guidance" from God and would be "part of the great history" of Brunei.

It is also unclear whether death by stoning will actually be implemented, as a high burden of proof is needed to hand down the punishment and Brunei has not executed anyone for decades.

"All governments have an obligation to ensure that all people can freely enjoy the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled", said Palladino.

And the boycott of Brunei is entering various industries: adverts promoting Brunei have been removed from London's transport networks, and Deutsche Bank has banned its staff from staying at Dorchester hotels, one of the nine named chains.

The new laws apply to children and foreigners, even if they are not Muslim.

There has been worldwide condemnation of the legal revisions pushed by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the world's richest men who has wielded power in the tiny tropical nation for almost five decades.

Brunei has introduced a law that allows gay people to be killed by stoning.

Actor George Clooney condemned the measures in a recent opinion piece and highlighted the hotels' ties to the Brunei Investment Agency, which the Sultan of Brunei owns. Although Brunei has retained the death penalty, it had not carried out an execution since 1957.

Pop recording artist Dua Lipa and tennis legend Billie Jean King have joined calls by George Clooney, Elton John, and Ellen DeGeneres for a boycott of the Dorchester Collection and other business entities owned by Brunei after its implementation of a 'death by stoning' punishment for gay sex. "We need to do something now", urged DeGeneres.

Amnesty International also took a stance against the laws after expressing "grave concerns" over the Penal Code when its first phase was implemented in April 2014.

Woolfe organised Brunei's first ever LGBT event - a 2016 gathering at a hotel in the sultanate to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia - and was subsequently barred from visiting the country.