RCGP withdraws Sultan of Brunei honour

Publication date: 17 April 2019

The College has today revoked an honour given to the Sultan of Brunei, following the introduction of 'abhorrent' sanctions in his country.

An extraordinary meeting of the College's Trustee Board voted unanimously to withdraw the 'Companion of the College' honour awarded in 2013.

The decision also includes the removal of the word 'Brunei' from the name of the auditorium at the College's headquarters 30 Euston Square, with immediate effect.

Professor Nigel Mathers, Chair of the Trustee Board, said: "The fact that we convened an extraordinary meeting of Trustees shows how seriously the College is taking this issue.

"We can confirm that robust governance procedures have been followed and that the decision of the Trustee Board was unanimous on the withdrawal of the honour and on the decision over the name of the auditorium."

College Chair, Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, wrote to the Sultan of Brunei last week, urging him to reverse the laws that carry penalties including stoning and flogging to death on the grounds of sexuality.

She said: "Persecuting or punishing people based on their sexuality is completely unacceptable, and completely contravenes everything that the College stands for.

"This has been an incredibly upsetting time for everyone - not least for our wonderful LGBTQ+ community of doctors, staff, and patients.

"Our College honour was given in good faith but the recent events in Brunei have left us with no choice but to take action.

"I know it has been frustrating for many of our members while we worked to find a solution, so thank you for bearing with us while we went through our due processes.

"The College is nothing without our dedicated and committed members and staff, and we are proud to be a diverse and inclusive College that believes in equality for all."

A regular meeting of the Trustee Board will meet next week to discuss issues brought to the fore by the Brunei developments, including the donation given to the College by the Sultan of Brunei, and the College's future work in countries with repressive regimes and its support for international human rights.

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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