CHICAGO (May 7, 2014) – The Brunei ambassador to the United States is scheduled to be in Chicago Thursday (May 8) for an appearance before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and Equality Illinois is calling on participants in the meeting to challenge him on the country’s vicious laws against homosexuality.
Brunei Amb. Dato Yusoff Abd Hamid is scheduled to participate in a luncheon at the Fairmont Chicago with five other ambassadors of countries in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Brunei recently enacted a new criminal code that includes death by stoning for homosexuality and adultery.
“We should take every opportunity to challenge and express opposition to this obscene law that violates all norms of human rights,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest organization advocating for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans.
“Many nations make life difficult or create outright bans on their LGBT citizens but few go as far as Brunei in instituting a heinous death penalty for being gay,” Cherkasov said. “American businesses with global interests should specifically avoid doing business in Brunei, lest they place their employees at risk because of their actual or perceived LGBT identity.”
President Obama once told a gathering of heads of state at the United Nations, “No country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”
“We believe the forum provided the Brunei government spokesman by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs is the right place to stand up. We expect the Council to be up to this challenge,” Cherkasov said.