The Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby (The VGLRL) is urgently calling on the Minister for Transport Hon. Michael McCormack to revoke Royal Brunei Airlines right to land in Australia to ensure the safety of LGBTIQ+ Australians from barbaric new death penalty laws.
From Wednesday 3 April 2019, the Brunei Darussalam Syariah Penal Code will allow for inhumane and cruel punishments for queer people, such as death by stoning for consensual acts between same-sex adults. Making Brunei the only country with laws that allow for the execution of LGBTIQ+ people to have landing rights in Australia.
A recent update (27 March 2019) on Australia’s SmartTraveller website advises would-be tourists that: “From 3 April 2019, the full sharia penal code (law) takes effect in Brunei. It applies to Muslims, non-Muslims and foreigners even when on Brunei registered aircrafts and vessels. Under this code some offences can attract physical punishment while others attract executions.”
The VGLRL does not believe the travel warning goes far enough to protect the rights and lives of LGBTIQ+ Australians, with particular concern being directed to the fact that the Penal Code applies to all those who board a Brunei registered aircraft even when in Australia.
“This new Penal Code represents a serious and grave violation to the safety of LGBTIQ+ Australians”, said co-convener of the VGLRL Dale Park. “We need swift and strong action from the Government, but also, we support the call from Thorne Harbour Health to see similar action from Melbourne Airport to no longer accept flights from Royal Brunei and from large travel centres such as Flight Centre and STA Travel to immediately stop selling their flights.”
The VGLRL also lends its voice to the chorus of outcry from organisations such as the United Nations and Amnesty International to halt the enforcement of the revised Penal Code, which would enshrine in legislation cruel punishments that breach international Human Rights Laws. "Support must be given to LGBTIQ+ community in Brunei who face unbelievable cruelty when this comes into effect." said Mr Park
The VGLRL encourages all those who support the ban on Royal Brunei Airlines from Australia to sign the online petition: megaphone.org.au/petitions/ban-royal-brunei-airlines-from-australia