[News] Human rights organizations call on PayPal to end its digital discrimination in the occupied Palestinian territory
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 5 11:15:16 EDT 2021
Human rights organizations call on PayPal to end its digital
discrimination in the occupied Palestinian territory
October 4, 2021
Human rights organizations have joined together to tell PayPal to stop
denying its services on discriminatory grounds to Palestinians in the
occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), including the West Bank and Gaza.
The coalition has sent a letter to Paypal to request that the company
brings its policies in line with international human rights law and to
request that the company engages directly with Palestinian civil society
representatives to work together towards a sustainable solution.
Despite international pressure, PayPal still refuses to operate in the
oPt while providing full access to users in Israel and illegal Israeli
settlements in the West Bank. As a population living under prolonged
military occupation, Palestinians face extreme restrictions on imports,
exports, and movement as a result of Israel’s discriminatory laws,
policies, and practices in the West Bank and more severely so in the
Palestinians rely on digital accessibility for economic development and
access to the global economy. The ability to use digital payment
platforms is crucial for Palestinian entrepreneurs, businesses, and
freelancers, to access regional and international customers.
Nadim Nashif, Director of 7amleh, which defends Palestinian digital
rights, said, “Our research has shown that the Palestinian market is
ready for PayPal. By excluding Palestinians from its service but
allowing illegal settlers, PayPal directly emboldens the Israeli
occupation and further entrenches its devastating effects on the
Palestinian population and their economy.”
PayPal claims that its policy against Palestinians is based on its
“Prohibited Countries” policy which labels Palestine and other countries
as “High Risk and Conflict-Affected Areas,” in which PayPal has no
ability to operate. However, Palestine has already implemented the
regulatory frameworks necessary for accessing electronic payment
systems. This includes the “Electronic Transactions Law” which
facilitates electronic transactions and establishes measures to combat
money laundering and fraud.
PayPal’s policy contributes to the Israeli campaign of delegitimization
and de-platforming of Palestinian civil society and businesses.
Furthermore, the request of the human rights organizations is in line
with the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights guidance on the
rights and obligations of business enterprises under international
humanitarian law. The guiding principles warn that if a “business finds
(either through its own due diligence or other means) that it has caused
or contributed to an adverse human rights impact, it has a
responsibility to actively engage in remediation, either by itself or in
cooperation with other actors”
The coalition called on the international community to condemn PayPal’s
discriminatory policies and to join Palestinians in this campaign to
pressure PayPal to extend its services to Palestinians in the occupied
West Bank and Gaza Strip.
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