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UK medical college to revoke Brunei Sultan’s honorary title over anti-gay law

UK medical college to revoke Brunei Sultan’s honorary title over anti-gay law

The Sultan of Brunei - Hassanal Bolkiah

After Oxford, the Royal College of General Practitioners is set to revoke the honorary title awarded to the Sultan of Brunei over the state’s new anti-LGBTI laws.

The Sultan is a ‘companion of the college’

Earlier this week, the RCGP Fellowship and Awards Committee has made a unanimous recommendation for the withdrawal of Hassanal Bolkiah’s honorary title. This happened after the Sultan implemented the Sharia Penal Code, including stoning gay people to death.

Bolkiah was the first to receive the ‘companion of the college’ award. He gained the title in recognition of his work to ‘promote healthcare in Brunei and abroad’.

GPonline has confirmed today (12 April) the college will hold an ‘extraordinary meeting’ to discuss what’s ahead. They will then put the issue to council members for their views.

The laws contravene our values, says RCGP

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard penned an open letter to the sultan.

She said the laws ‘contravene our values and everything that the college stands for’.

‘We are a diverse and inclusive international organisation that is proud of its strong LGBTI community of doctors and staff. Promoting equality and valuing diversity are central to the professional values of general practice and to the RCGP’s work to encourage, foster and maintain the highest possible standards of patient care for all,’ she wrote in a letter to the Sultan.

She furthermore added: ‘Laws that persecute and punish individuals on grounds of their sexuality, and which carry sentences such as flogging and death by stoning, are completely contrary to these principles and will create an environment that is inimical to the comprehensive provision of safe, person-centred, patient care for all. For these reasons, we oppose such measures in the strongest possible terms.’

Professor Stokes-Lampard also said new anti-LGBTI laws imposed in Brunei had ‘jeopardised this good work’.

She added: ‘We implore you to revoke these measures as a matter of urgency, or the college will be forced to act on the recommendation of our Fellowship and Awards Committee to rescind our honour to you.’

The petition

A petition to urge RCGP to revoke the title has received more than 4,000 signatures.

‘The Royal College of General Practitioners should immediately rescind the honorary title of “Companion of the College” and condemn the Sultan of Brunei for his support of these horrific human rights violations,’ the petition reads.

See also

Police cancels bravery awards at Brunei-owned hotel over gay death penalty

Oxford University to review Brunei Sultan’s degree over LGBTI death penalty

UK Labour MP pleads government to suspend Brunei from the Commonwealth