Brunei may not have necessarily been top of the travel bucket list late last week, but after a weekend of bad press & social media fury, the destination has slipped into an abyss of boycotting.

The tiny nation on the island of Borneo made headlines after its leaders announced they would go ahead with strict new laws that target the LGBTQ community.

Coming into effect on 3 April, the new laws will reportedly see Brunei flog and stone to death anyone caught engaging in same-sex activity.

The country said in a statement:

“The (Sharia) Law, apart from criminalising and deterring acts that are against the teachings of Islam, also aims to educate, respect and protect the legitimate rights of all individuals, society or nationality of any faiths and race.”

Smartraveller advises that the full sharia penal code will impact Muslims, non-Muslims and foreigners, even when they’re on Brunei-registered aircraft and vessels.

KARRYON has attempted to contact Royal Brunei Airlines to confirm whether this statement applies to its services out of Australia.

“Under this code some offences can attract physical punishment while others attract executions.”


“Offences that attract the death penalty include blasphemy, sodomy, adultery, rape and murder.”

While Brunei isn’t the only country in the world to have such strict laws against same-sex relations (click here for a shortlist of all countries that make it difficult for gay and transgender people), the new rules received front-page spotlight thanks to celebrity input from George Clooney and Elton John.

The actor called on tourists around the world to avoid travelling to the destination and booking hotels owned by the country, such as The Dorchester in London, The Beverly Hills Hotel and 45 Park Lane until the new practices are abandoned.

The same calls were made by singer Elton John and Australian groups including Victoria-based Thorne Harbour Heath, who described the strict stance as “barbaric”.

“This is essentially state-sponsored brutality against people of diverse gender and sexuality and a violation of basic human rights — there’s no place for it,” Thorne Harbour CEO Simon Ruth was reported in QN News as saying.

“We need to take action collectively to say laws specifically punishing our LGBTI communities for being who they are have no place in society.

“The Federal Government must immediately revoke Royal Brunei Airlines’ right to land in Australia to keep sexuality and gender diverse Australians safe from Brunei’s new laws.”

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