Calls for boycotts of Brunei owned businesses have mobilised online, as the country introduces vicious new gay stoning laws. Whilst a great start, a boycott alone will not create the expeditious change needed to save thousands of innocent lives. As head of The Commonwealth; it’s time for the Queen and Royal Family to take action.
It’s true that Brunei has large financial stakes in international businesses, including the Sultan himself owning 45 Park Lane and The Dorchester; a hotel Prince Philip spent the night before his wedding in London.
But the investments of this barbaric country, (stakes owned by The Crown until only 26 years ago,) go far beyond hotels. They include a total equity of $30 billion — 60% of which is dominated by the oil and gas sector (according to the British Government’s website.) Equally the UK is the third largest exporter to Brunei, with goods and services totally £129m.
A boycott supported and shared by the likes of Ellen, George Clooney, Elton John and Jamie Lee Curtis is a great way to get the world talking, but even if all LGBT people and our straight-allies stopped spending in just these establishments — it wouldn’t even touch the sides.
As head of The Commonwealth, (a collection of countries where gay sex remains criminalised in 36 of the 53 it’s sovereign states, with many carrying the punishment of death,) we desperately need The Queen to stand up for us.
Aside from businesses, The Royal Family also historically have strong ties with the Sultan himself.
Their relationship forms an institutional part of the commonwealth, mostly supporting the trading of military equipment and fossil fuels. This has secured financial stability for many years, since joining in 1984.
Like all large institutions, when financial stakes become too big — human life, accountability and ethics begin to take second place… or more accurately — last place. The Commonwealth sadly suffers from this same fate and it’s time the Royal Family spoke out against this brutalism.
In contrast, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan is a monarch who uses her position of power and influence in the Arab world, to fight on behalf of many fundamental causes.
These include women’s rights, reform in education, public health and youth empowerment. Most famously she’s recent pushed conventional boundaries, being highly outspoken against honour killings and its impact on women.
In recent years, we’ve been gracious to receive the valued support of Prince William, speaking out in support of LGBT rights and even recently appearing on the cover of LGBT publication, Attitude.
But should it really take the innocent lives of hundreds being taken by the sheer force of rocks, thrown by government hands — for the world and more directly, for the Royal Family to take action?
As head of The Commonwealth, how can the Queen not speak out against the dreadful human rights abuses conducted within the borders of her reign and region, any longer?