Royal College of GPs urged to rescind Sultan of Brunei’s honorary title

Nick Duffy April 5, 2019
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The Royal College of GPs

The Royal College of GPs

The UK’s Royal College of GPs has been urged to rescind an honorary title bestowed upon the Sultan of Brunei over the country’s ‘death to gays’ law.

The body has been urged to revoke the ‘Companion of the College’ honour that was handed to Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah in 2013, after his country enacted a law which allow death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex or adultery, while lesbian sex is punished by 100 lashes with a whip.

A petition calling on the college to rescind the title has received more than 2300 signatures.

Royal College of GPs ‘reviewing’ Brunei links

In an initial statement on Thursday (April 4), the Royal College of GPs said: “The College will be reviewing the situation in light of emerging developments and in no way condones any abuses of human rights in the UK or abroad.

“We are an organisation committed to raising standards of healthcare for patients all over the world, and to this end have had a formal collaboration with Brunei for more than ten years supporting the development of primary care and the training of GPs in the country.”

The Royal College of GPs
The Royal College of GPs

A follow-up statement on Friday (April 5) added: “We fully understand and appreciate the concerns of our members and the strength of feeling on this issue.

“The College is an inclusive organisation that thrives on its diversity and and believes in equality for all.

“We abhor any abuse of human rights and categorically condemn the recent developments in Brunei.

“We wish to reassure our GP members, our staff, and all other organisations who work with us, that this is being discussed with urgency at the highest levels of the College.”

The statement added: “It is in all our interests that we reach a speedy resolution, but it is imperative that we work with other organisations, not least the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to ensure that any decision does not compromise our colleagues working in Brunei or the work that the College is doing there to improve the care of patients.”

GPs ‘raised concern’ over Sultan of Brunei title

Prominent figures have also spoken out.

Amit Paik, chair-elect of the RCGP Associate in Training committee, said on Twitter: “The @RCGPAiT committee recognises the concerns expressed by all within the AiT community about links with Brunei’s leadership & the RCGP.

“We stand with our LGBTQ colleagues and currently liaising with senior @rcgp figures to highlight our concerns.”

Jodie Blackadder-Weinstein of the RCGP First5 committee added: “[We] have raised concerns re: evolving situation in Brunei with @rcgp leadership, and continue to contribute to the discussion.

“We are proud to represent a diverse community and support LGBTQ communities worldwide, as well as development of the PHC available.”

Several UK university are also facing pressure to rescind honours handed to the unelected Brunei leader.

Related topics: Brunei, sultan of brunei

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