Organizations act in wake of complicity to human rights abuses in Uyghur Region
In a letter sent today to Casey Wasserman, Chair of LA 28, the Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, UNITE HERE Local 11, the Los Angeles hospitality workers union, and human rights organizations Jewish World Watch and the Peace Project called on the Los Angeles Olympics Organizing Committee to refuse Airbnb’s sponsorship of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. Despite demands from 190 human rights organizations to drop its support for the Beijing Games1 and concern from elected officials from both political parties, Airbnb has remained a sponsor of the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. The United States2, Canadian House of Commons3, French Parliament4, United Kingdom House of Commons5 and human rights organizations6 all define the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights violations against the Muslim Uyghur population in the Uyghur Region as genocide.
“Airbnb must not be allowed to sponsor the games in diverse and democratic Los Angeles. I came to Southern California as a child in the wake of widespread human rights abuses and civil war in Nicaragua. We will not turn a blind eye to genocide in the Uyghur Region,” said co-President Ada Briceño of UNITE HERE Local 11.
“The world had an opportunity to send a message during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games by countering the Third Reich’s propaganda but instead chose indifference,” said Serena Oberstein, Executive Director of Jewish World Watch. “We cannot repeat these same mistakes today by remaining silent. Airbnb’s engagement with the Chinese Communist Party makes them complicit in today’s Uyghur genocide.”
“Airbnb has shown their willingness to be complicit in Uyghur genocide by listing homes in East Turkistan. There is no ethical way that the Olympics can be held in Los Angeles while Airbnb continues to be an Olympic Partner,” said Rushan Abbas, Executive Director of the Campaign for Uyghurs.
In addition to its sponsorship of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Airbnb reportedly conducts business in the Uyghur Region, including on “land owned by an organization sanctioned by the US government for complicity in genocide and forced labor.7” As the letter to Wasserman concludes, “Los Angeles’ Olympic bid should not be associated with invidious racism or complicity in the face of gross violations of human rights. Accordingly, please make clear that firms like Airbnb are not welcome sponsors of the Olympics in our City.”
“By continuing business with the Chinese Communist Party, Airbnb denies that the scale and severity of the Uyghur genocide warrants accountability. We should not enable corporations to perpetuate genocide with their silence and complicity,” said Sabrina Sohail, Executive Director of The Peace Project.
UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona who work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports.
6 https://www.ushmm.org/genocide-prevention/reports-and-resources/the-chinese-governments-assault-on-the-uyghurs, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-59595952.
See also https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2021/12/rubio-airbnb-is-encouraging-travel-to-a-region-tainted-by-genocide.
Charlie Carnow | firstname.lastname@example.org | 818-635-3034