News

SOAS UNISON Statement on Brunei Gallery

16 April 2019

Dear SOAS UNISON, UCU and SU Members

The SOAS Students’ Union have approached us to ask for support in their campaign to have the Brunei Gallery renamed as a result of the appalling homophobic laws recently implemented in Brunei, as will see the Sultanate imposing death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex and adultery.

Fuller information can be read here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/03/brunei-death-by-stoning-gay-sex-adultery-sharia-law.

SOAS SU’s position here: soasunion.org/liberation/bruneiandsoas

The Sultan of Brunei, one of the wealthiest men in the world, is a Sandhurst-educated product of British imperialism who, it appears, is cynically using such legal changes to distract from wider criticism of his regime. Meanwhile LGBT people in Brunei live in fear for their lives.

SOAS cannot simply stand by and ignore what is going on. Oxford University is currently reviewing the Sultan of Brunei’s honorary degree, while celebrities and businesses have called for boycotts of Brunei-owned enterprises. Symbolic as it may be but renaming SOAS’ Brunei Gallery would send a signal of solidarity to the LGBT community in Brunei and shall make it clear that these bigoted views are unacceptable.

While the School is currently hosting the LGBT flag on the Brunei Gallery, a more long-lasting change would convey the feelings of SOASians on this matter.

As such, I urge all to sign the SU petition here: https://forms.gle/GSo7KtnfxuiqExac6.

Art Mitchells-Urwin, SOAS Unison LGBT+ Members’ Officer on behalf of the SOAS UNISON Branch Committee