British military called on to strip the Sultan of Brunei of honorary appointments awarded to him by the Queen, as backlash against new anti-LGBT laws grows

Britain's Queen Elizabeth Brunei's Sultan Hassanal BolkiahBritain's Queen Elizabeth walks with Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah as they arrive at a a pageant to celebrate 200 years of Gurkha service to the British crown in London, 2015.Reuters

  • The British military is under pressure to strike out honors given to the Sultan of Brunei, after the Asian state introduced death by stoning as a punishment for homosexuality.
  • The Sultan, Brunei's head of state, was made an honorary Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Air Force and an Admiral in the Royal Navy by Queen Elizabeth II.
  • On Friday, Stephen Evans, CEO of the National Secular Society, demanded the titles be removed so the UK would not be complicit in "medieval barbarism."
  • A global boycott of Brunei-owned enterprise is underway, with Deutsche Bank, Virgin Australia, and the London Underground all taking action.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more.

The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force are under pressure to rescind honorary military titles bestowed upon the Sultan of Brunei by Queen Elizabeth II, amid a growing global boycott of the Asian nation.

Last Wednesday, Brunei introduced death by stoning as a punishment for homosexuality, after Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah made several reforms to the country's penal code, which has been based on Islamic Shariah law since 2014.

Brands, celebrities, governments, and universities have so far taken action by banning Brunei-owned enterprise and boycotting luxury nine five-star hotels owned by Bolkiah.

On Friday, Stephen Evans, CEO of the UK's National Secular Society called for both the British Royal Air Force and Royal Navy to strip the Sultan of honorary titles bestowed upon him.

Evans told The Observer: "Brunei's deplorable new laws are a breach of basic human rights and contrary to the values that should define British institutions."

FILE PHOTO: Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah attends the retreat session during the APEC Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on November 18, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray/File PhotoFILE PHOTO: Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah attends the retreat session during the APEC Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New GuineaReuters

Read more: Here's a list of everyone who is boycotting or cutting ties with Brunei after it introduced new laws to punish homosexuality with death by stoning

"Stripping the sultan of the honours they have bestowed upon him would send out the important message that they do not wish to be in any way associated with this sort of medieval barbarism."

queen brunei sultan 1998Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Hassanal Bolkiah, reviews the honour guard upon her arrival in Bandar Seri Begawan, September 17, 1998.Reuters

The Sultan was made an honorary Admiral in the Royal Navy in 2001, after he passed out from a summer enlistment at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.

We was also made an honorary Air Chief Marshal in the Air Force, awarded by the Queen.

The decision to award the Sultan with the honors was not made by the Queen herself, Buckingham Palace told Business Insider.

Read more: The death of Queen Elizabeth will be one of the most disruptive events in Britain in the past 70 years

The spokeswoman said: "Her Majesty acted on the advice of government in relation to these honorary appointments."

bruneiShutterstock/Aleksandr Sadkov

Calls for the Sultan to be stripped of his honorary British military titles come amid a growing backlash against Brunei.

On Wednesday, Aberdeen University in Scotland said it was considering rescinding the honorary degree it gave to the Sultan in 1995. Kings College London, which gave him an honorary doctorate in 2011, made a similar suggestion.

Nearly 60,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Oxford University revokes an honorary degree given to Bolkiah in 1993. The university first refused to retract it, but is now reconsidering that move.

A viral campaign to boycott nine hotels owned by the Sultan - one of the world's richest heads of state, worth around $20 billion - was stoked by celebrities and reached a peak on Thursday when eight hotels deleted their Twitter profiles.

BRUNEIhotels thumbA composite images of hotels owned by Brunei's Sultan in London, Rome, Paris, and LA.Getty/AP/YouTube/TheDorchesterCollection

They were: The Dorchester (London), 45 Park Lane (London), Coworth Park (Ascot, UK), The Beverly Hills Hotel (Los Angeles), Hotel Bel-Air (Los Angeles), Le Meurice (Paris), Hotel Plaza Athénée (Paris), Hotel Principe di Savoia (Milan).

One of the Sultan's nine hotels, The Hotel Eden in Rome, Italy, remains on Twitter, but has a protected account.

On Saturday, hundreds of people protested outside of The Dorchester hotel in London.

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