Energy company Royal Dutch Shell’s stance on LGBTI rights has come under scrutiny due to their business ties with Brunei.
Brunei recently passed highly controversial Sharia Penal Code (SPC), which includes punishing male homosexual sex with death by stoning.
The country has experienced widespread condemnation for adopting the extreme laws.
Shell, as the energy firm is commonly known, is the largest foreign business operating in Brunei.
In the past, Shell has been highly supportive of LGBTI rights.
However, there are now concerns that the new laws could affect Shell’s LGBTI employees in the Southeast Asian nation.
The most important business in Brunei
Located on the island of Borneo, Brunei is a tiny country with vast oil reserves. 61% of Brunei’s GDP comes from the oil and gas sector.
Shell runs a joint venture with the Bruneian government which generates 90% of the nation’s oil and gas revenue.
In essence, this makes Shell the most important company operating in Brunei, CNN reports.
The company has around 3,500 employees in Brunei. Following the implementation of the SPC, a number of Shell’s shareholders expressed concerns about how the new laws could affect the company’s LGBTI employees in the country.
It also raises questions as to whether Shell’s business interests in Brunei will trump its support for LGBTI rights.
Eumedion, an organization that represents Dutch institutional investors, said it will raise the issues at one its upcoming regular meetings with Shell’s leadership.
Last month, Gay Star News broke the news that Brunei would be implementing the controversial SPC in early April.
The laws include death by stoning for sodomy and adultery, and the amputation of limbs for theft.
Following the revelation, Brunei received global condemnation.
Human rights groups sharply criticized the Bruneian government, with political bodies calling on Brunei to halt the SPC’s implementation.
A number of public figures, including George Clooney, Elton John, and Ellen DeGeneres, announced they would be boycotting hotels with links to Brunei.
There have also been a number of protests against Bruneian linked businesses in the US and the UK.
Despite the backlash, Brunei went ahead with the planned implementation of the laws on 3 April. The Bruneian government has since defended its decision to adopt the SPC.