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Royal Brunei Airlines dropped by STA Travel over anti-LGBT+ laws

The travel agency said it would refund passengers booked to fly on Royal Brunei 

Cathy Adams
Friday 05 April 2019 18:23 BST
Brunei faces boycott over new Islamic laws

STA Travel has severed ties with Royal Brunei Airlines amid a growing international backlash to the country.

The travel agency said today it would stop selling flights on the country’s national carrier.

The tiny Southeast Asian nation has been internationally condemned for the introduction of harsh new sharia laws, which include punishing gay sex with death by stoning.

In a statement, STA Travel said: “We’re proud of our open and diverse culture and we expect our partners to demonstrate the same.

“We do not support in any way the laws being introduced in Brunei (including on Brunei-registered aircraft and vessels).

“Because of this we have stopped selling Royal Brunei Airlines flights. Anybody who bought Royal Brunei Airlines tickets through STA Travel and who no longer wants to use them can claim a refund, and we will help those customers to make alternative travel arrangements.

“We’ve taken this stance to add our voice to the calls on Brunei to reverse this change in the law and in support of LGBTQI people everywhere.”

STA adds its voice to a growing number of businesses and public figures calling for a boycott of the country in light of the harsh new laws.

Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres and George Clooney have urged the public to boycott of the Dorchester Collection hotels, which are owned by Brunei’s sovereign wealth fund.

The luxury hotels include The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane in London, the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles and Le Meurice in Paris.

In a new statement, the Dorchester Collection said: ‘Inclusion, diversity and equality are the foundation of Dorchester Collection. We do not tolerate any form of discrimination, we never have and we never will.

“We understand people’s anger and frustration but this is a political and religious issue that we don’t believe should be played out in our hotels and amongst our 3,630 employees.

“We’re deeply saddened by what’s happening right now and the impact it is having on our employees, guests, partners and suppliers in particular.

“Our values are far removed from the politics of ownership.”

In London, adverts promoting Brunei as an “abode of peace” have been removed from the Tube network, and Virgin Australia said it would end a staff travel deal with Royal Brunei Airlines.

Royal Brunei Airlines had no comment to this story.

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