Rights Group: Airbnb Violates Human Rights
April 9, 2019, New York – Today, in response to news that Airbnb agreed to dismiss a case brought by Israeli settlers over its decision to de-list properties in illegal settlements in the West Bank in the occupied Palestinian territory, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the statement below. 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 re-listed properties in illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. Airbnb’s decision reflects an alarming lack of commitment to human rights. When we filed counterclaims on behalf of the Palestinians who actually own the land the listed properties unlawfully sit on, we laid out the international and domestic law violations committed by the settlers, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. In backing down from its decision not to list properties in occupied Palestinian territory, Airbnb is in breach of its international human rights obligations, and is discriminating against Palestinians.
The rentals in question are in Israeli-only settlements from which Palestinian residents of the West Bank are barred as per Israeli military orders, and which are sometimes surrounded by physical barriers, military bases, and security gates. Several of the Israeli-Americans who sued Airbnb helped establish the unlawful Jewish settlements in the West Bank in which the rental properties sit. They occupied the land with full knowledge that they were illegally constructed or seized. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the transfer of civilians of the occupying power into occupied territory (i.e. Israeli civilians into the occupied Palestinian territory), as well as the forcible transfer of the local population from their land. Settlements are established and maintained on Palestinian land as exclusively Jewish communities; Palestinian residents are forbidden from accessing or residing in the settlements.
For more information, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights case page.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.