US Congress members want Brunei TPP deal called off

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Brunei TPPOver a hundred members of the US House of Representatives have signed a letter urging the government to call off a trade deal with Brunei over its new anti-gay law.

In April the Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah gave approval to Brunei’s revised penal code, which urges death by stoning for same-sex sexual activity.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a proposed trade agreement that the US has been working to secure, which would involve Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.

However, an open letter to Secretary of State John Kerry has urged the deal be scrapped or postponed until Brunei reforms its homophobic laws.

It reads: “We urge you to insist that Brunei address these human rights violations as a condition of the US participating with them in any further Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.

“Brunei’s adoption of the revised penal code legalises violence against its citizens, constituting torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.

“The US must make it clear that we will not tolerate such abuses. International trade partners have much to gain from an economic relationship with the US, and our trade agreements should insist that participating countries adhere to internationally recognized civil, political, and human rights standards.

“Targeting LGBT individuals or religious minorities and opening the door for discrimination and violence against women is a threat we cannot overlook, and should trade agreements like the TPP go into effect with the participation of human rights violators, the United States would lose its leverage to provide economic pressure on countries to reverse unacceptable policies.”

The majority of the 119 signatories – which include Mark Pocan (D-WI), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Henry Waxman (D-CA) – are Democrats, though some Republicans have signed.

At the same time, gay rights groups in the US have banded together to demand the US government TPP negotiations with Brunei.

Pride at Work, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and the National Center for Transgender Equality delivered a letter to the White House demanding that the US either insist that Brunei revokes this new penal code or be removed from the TPP altogether.

“The US, and every other nation considering doing business with Brunei, should immediately cease any negotiations or consideration for that country as a trading partner. Human rights abusers don’t get preferential treatment,” the letter says.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Over a hundred members of the US House of Representatives have signed a letter urging the government to call off a trade deal with Brunei over its new anti-gay law.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Brunei TPPOver a hundred members of the US House of Representatives have signed a letter urging the government to call off a trade deal with Brunei over its new anti-gay law.

In April the Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah gave approval to Brunei’s revised penal code, which urges death by stoning for same-sex sexual activity.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a proposed trade agreement that the US has been working to secure, which would involve Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.

However, an open letter to Secretary of State John Kerry has urged the deal be scrapped or postponed until Brunei reforms its homophobic laws.

It reads: “We urge you to insist that Brunei address these human rights violations as a condition of the US participating with them in any further Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.

“Brunei’s adoption of the revised penal code legalises violence against its citizens, constituting torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.

“The US must make it clear that we will not tolerate such abuses. International trade partners have much to gain from an economic relationship with the US, and our trade agreements should insist that participating countries adhere to internationally recognized civil, political, and human rights standards.

“Targeting LGBT individuals or religious minorities and opening the door for discrimination and violence against women is a threat we cannot overlook, and should trade agreements like the TPP go into effect with the participation of human rights violators, the United States would lose its leverage to provide economic pressure on countries to reverse unacceptable policies.”

The majority of the 119 signatories – which include Mark Pocan (D-WI), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Henry Waxman (D-CA) – are Democrats, though some Republicans have signed.

At the same time, gay rights groups in the US have banded together to demand the US government TPP negotiations with Brunei.

Pride at Work, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and the National Center for Transgender Equality delivered a letter to the White House demanding that the US either insist that Brunei revokes this new penal code or be removed from the TPP altogether.

“The US, and every other nation considering doing business with Brunei, should immediately cease any negotiations or consideration for that country as a trading partner. Human rights abusers don’t get preferential treatment,” the letter says.

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