US lawmakers call for suspension of trade talks with Brunei over Islamic laws

More than 100 members of Congress have signed a letter urging the US to force Brunei to abandon its draconian laws that call for amputation for thieves, and the stoning of gays and adulterers – or not be allowed to participate in a 12-country trade pact talk

US lawmakers call for suspension of trade talks with Brunei over Islamic laws
14 June 2014

One hundred and nineteen members of the House of Representatives signed a letter urging Secretary of State John Kerry and US Trade Representative Michael Froman to shun Brunei in talks on a Pacific free trade zone agreement unless it addresses its recently introduced Islamic laws that  threatens the human rights of groups including women and LGBTIs.

The Southeast Asian country in May implemented the first phase of the law that covers general offences such as not performing Friday prayers. It says it will ultimately punish sodomy and adultery with the death penalty, including by stoning.

The letter is the first public action by US lawmakers to pressure Brunei into abandoning its draconian Islamic laws.

In May, celebrities in Hollywood launched a boycott against properties with ties to the Sultan of Brunei, including the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air.

‘We write to express our concern over the Government of Brunei Darussalam’s recently adopted penal code, which threatens the human rights of minority groups including women, religious minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and urge you to insist that Brunei address these human rights violations as a condition of the United States participating with them in any further Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations,’ read the letter sent by Congressman Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Madison, Wisconsin and signed by 118 other congress members.

‘Targeting LGBT individuals or religious minorities and opening the door for discrimination and violence against women is a threat we cannot overlook, and should trade agreements like the TPP go into effect with the participation of human rights violators, the United States would lose its leverage to provide economic pressure on countries to reverse unacceptable policies.’

Brunei and the United States and are among 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, which aims to manage trade, promote development, and regionally integrate the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.

Although the population of Brunei is just 420,000, its sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, is one of the world’s richest men.



No thumbnail available

This advert featuring same-sex couples perfectly captures the modern family

UK fashion brand Matalan are celebrating families in all genders, colors and sizes with a new ad campaign
No thumbnail available

Campaign launched to help LGBT people in rural Ireland

History is made as it was the first time a LGBT group attended the National Ploughing Championships in its 82 year history
No thumbnail available

American Apparel makes 'diva boy' Brendan Jordan a model

'We were inspired by Brendan after seeing his fearless act of spontaneity and applaud his efforts with the LGBTQ community'
No thumbnail available

Pastor charged with sex abuse on gay men he was ‘curing’

Claims Reverend Ryan Muehlhauser used his counseling role at Outpost Ministries to abuse men he was trying to ‘cure’ of gay sex
No thumbnail available

Cameron asked to back Obama's gay fight

British PM David Cameron should follow Obama in his fight for gay rights worldwide, says charity
No thumbnail available

Hong Kong gay pride draws over 5000 supporters

Celebrities and politicians joined thousands of parade-goers at the fifth annual LGBTI rights march
No thumbnail available

Australian Marriage Equality is planning big day

 After delivering 3,000 roses to the Australian parliament for Valentine’s Day, campaigners propose the world to say ‘I Do’ on 2 March
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Homophobes hug gay people in parody First Kiss video

Following the viral success of the First Kiss video uploaded to YouTube this week, the Gay Women Channel has recorded its own version, with alleged homophobes hugging gay people
No thumbnail available

Fiance of murdered gay lawyer Kelly Phillips mourns his loss: 'I feel dead inside'

Nathon Bailey and victim were to be married soon - Phillips' ex is suspect in Minnesota slaying and remains a fugitive