Our response to Airbnb caving to Israeli settlers' legal bullying
The Center for Constitutional Rights condemned Airbnb's agreement to dismiss a case brought by Israeli settlers over its decision on illegal settlements in the West Bank in the occupied Palestinian territory. The Center for Constitutional Rights had moved to intervene and file counterclaims in the case last month on behalf of Palestinian landowners and West Bank residents whose properties are the very properties that settlers have listed on Airbnb or who are discriminated against by the settlers, arguing that the settlers' actions constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and discrimination on the basis of religion and national origin.
We are dismayed that Airbnb has caved to the legal bullying of Israeli settlers and will continue to list properties in illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. Airbnb's decision reflects an alarming lack of commitment to human rights.
This week, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a motion to the court seeking to proceed with our clients' claims against the settlers despite the dismissal of the original case.
"Although I am disappointed by Airbnb's about-face, we have always known that the road to justice would be a long one," said Randa Wahbe, one of the Palestinian intervenors in the lawsuit. "We laid out the settlements' discriminatory realities for the court and how they impact our daily lives. I hope the court will allow us to proceed with our claims."
Even though the settlers and Airbnb have settled their lawsuit, our clients can continue to proceed with claims against Israeli settlers and they intend to do so.
The Center for Constitutional Rights denounces the arrest of Julian Assange
On Thursday, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued a statement denouncing the arrest in London of journalist and WikiLeaks media publisher Julian Assange for purposes of extradition to the United States. His arrest comes in the backdrop of continued cruelty toward and imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, who has defended the integrity of her heroic decision to act as a whistleblower and expose the atrocities committed by the U.S. government in Iraq.
The Center for Constitutional Rights and Yemeni refugee seekers featured on April 10 Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Staff Attorney Diala Shamas made a guest appearance April 10 on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee in which she and the program's host, Samantha Bee, traveled to Djibouti to meet with Yemeni-American families stranded there because of President Trump's Muslim Ban.
The episode exposes the waiver process for what it is: a sham that leaves families separated, parents kept away from their children during their most formative years, and young people deprived of educational opportunities they would be afforded in the U.S if allowed to join their families.
The individuals featured in this episode are among thousands of Yemeni-Americans who are the subject of abusive immigration practices and Muslim profiling under the Trump administration's Muslim Ban. As of April 2019, only six percent of 37,000 visa applications were approved for waivers.
The episode builds on the Center for Constitutional Rights' Yemeni American Justice Initiative (YAJI), an ongoing effort that aims to address the systemic obstacles faced by these Yemeni-Americans.
ICC refuses to investigate crims in Afghanstan, including U.S. Torture
In what human rights groups call an appalling decision, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II decided not to grant the Prosecutor's request to open an investigation into alleged crimes committed in Afghanistan and on the territory of other States Parties implicated in the U.S. torture program. Tens of thousands of victims in Afghanistan, along with victims of U.S. torture, had urged the ICC to authorize the investigation.
Despite finding that requirements were met with regards to both jurisdiction and admissibility, the Pre-Trial judges decided that authorizing an investigation would not serve "the interests of justice."
Hearing on the impact of marijuana policies on child welfare at City Hall in New York
Center for Constitutional Rights Advocacy Program Manager Nahal Zamani testified April 10 during a hearing on the impact of marijuana policies on child welfare before the New York City Council Committees on General Welfare and Hospitals, which can be viewed on the New York City Council’s website.
We highlight the discriminatory targeting of Black women and their newborns for drug testing, the impacts of child protection investigations and potential removals on the basis of mere marijuana usage; the need for a harm reduction approach in the health care setting that reduces and ultimately ends stigma; and the disconnect between this practice and the national conversation to legalize marijuana.
We also applauded a legislative package that includes two bills that increase public reporting on the prevalence of this practice and two resolutions that urge policy and legislative changes that would end the harmful impact of this practice.
The Activist Files: Justice for Abu Ghraib, with Katherine Gallagher and Baher Azmy
On the 13th episode of The Activist Files, Advocacy Program Manager Aliya Hussain speaks with Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy and Senior Staff Attorney Katherine Gallagher about Al Shimari v. CACI, our case against private military contractor CACI Premier Technology, Inc., for its role in torture and other abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Fifteen years after the story of the torture broke, and 11 years after the case was filed, Al Shimari was finally slated to go to trial in late April – only to be postponed after CACI filed an appeal.
As Katherine says, most fundamentally this case is about allowing three individuals – Suhail Al Shimari, Salah Al-Ejaili, and Asa'ad Zuba'e – to tell their story about what happened to them at Abu Ghraib. Baher and Katherine discuss the important human rights issues in the case, significant legal victories, the broader legal context of accountability for private corporations' human rights abuses, and the intensity with which CACI has fought for impunity for its actions. This case is critically important at a time when human rights norms are under attack around the world and we are witnessing broader trends in privatization of government functions.
While the trial is postponed for now, we are continuing to work to share these stories until our clients get their day in court.