Human Rights FAQs

Human Rights Statement

Human rights are universal in nature, and are the rights that all people enjoy, regardless of their location, age, race, or any other characteristic or qualification. They are codified in key international instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work; and Children’s Rights and Business Principles.

For purposes of our human rights approach, the term “human rights” includes rights to:

  • Life;
  • Physical safety;
  • Own and enjoy property;
  • Fair and appropriate treatment in the workplace and in society, including protections for children;
  • Fair treatment in the legal system;
  • Associate with others for peaceful and lawful purposes;
  • Practice and enjoy one’s culture, nationality, and religion;
  • Maintain individual thoughts and reasonable expression; and
  • Privacy and familial rights.

We are committed to respecting the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) to guide our work in this area. The UNGPs call upon businesses to respect human rights by conducting due diligence of how their activities might adversely affect human rights, to minimize adverse impacts, and to remediate harms.

The kinds of activities that constitute human rights violations vary greatly and can include: discrimination based on protected characteristics (such as race, color, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, or political or other opinion); violent crimes (such as murder, extrajudicial killing, torture, beatings, or rape); labor abuses (such as child labor, forced labor, or labor trafficking); violations of rights in the legal system (such as abuse in prison, arbitrary arrest, or the denial of a fair trial). Activities violating human rights can also include property related issues, such as forced evictions, denying individuals the right to own or enjoy property, land grabbing, or denial of access to water in certain situations.

While governments have the obligation to protect human rights, business enterprises have a responsibility to respect human rights, including avoiding infringing on the human rights of others and addressing adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved. We are committed to respecting and promoting human rights wherever we do business. We expect our employees, partners, travel providers, suppliers, and customers to comply with our Human Rights Statement and to share this commitment to help the travel industry respect and promote human rights globally.

Business enterprises have a responsibility to respect human rights, including avoiding infringing on the human rights of others and addressing adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved. We are committed to respecting and promoting human rights wherever we do business. We expect our employees, partners, travel providers, suppliers, and customers to share this commitment to help the travel industry respect and promote human rights globally.

As set out in our Human Rights Statement, we are committed to respecting and promoting human rights wherever we do business. As one of the world’s leading digital travel companies, we respect the human rights of our stakeholders by seeking to avoid infringing on the rights of others and working to address adverse human rights impacts with which we are involved.

At the same time, we believe that travel can bring out the best in humanity. It helps people interact and come to better understand different cultures and ways of life. It also provides economic and social benefits to the communities that travelers visit. These ideals are vitally important to informing and guiding our actions and decisions. Therefore, while adhering to all applicable laws, we believe the greatest and most positive human rights impact we can have is through the promotion and facilitation of travel throughout the world.

We have grounded our Human Rights Statement in the guidance provided by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

It is the obligation of governments to protect human rights, and the responsibility of business to respect human rights. We take that responsibility seriously, prioritizing our salient human rights risks and opportunities across our operations and value chain, and seeking to develop mitigation and remediation strategies. At the same time, we also believe that facilitating travel can positively impact human rights, allowing for greater interactions and cultural understandings

We prioritize our salient human rights risks and opportunities across our operations and value chain, and seek to develop mitigation and remediation strategies. Please refer to our Human Rights Statement for further description of the key areas identified, (1) Human Trafficking, Forced Labor and Child Labor, (2) Discrimination, Harassment and Abuse, (3) Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas, (4) Protecting Local Cultures, Communities, and Natural Resources, (5) Privacy and Data Protection, and (6) Our Employees.

We recognize that this list is not exhaustive, and we are committed to monitoring our operations and business practices to identify and address our human rights risks. We are committed to improving the management of our key human rights impacts as they evolve over time. We are committed to listening and engaging with our various stakeholders in order to strengthen our understanding of our human rights impacts and opportunities. We are committed to learning and improving our human rights practice moving forward.

The Corporate Governance Committee of Booking Holdings’ Board of Directors is responsible for reviewing our corporate responsibility policies and programs including human rights. Our corporate Risk Management Committee, along with our Chief Compliance & Ethics Officer, oversees the implementation of our human rights policy and program. A Human Rights Risk Steering Committee under our corporate Risk Management Committee coordinates our efforts to identify, address and report our human rights risks and opportunities and fosters dialogue on these issues with human rights experts and stakeholders.

Further, we expect our employees, partners, travel providers, suppliers and customers to share this commitment to ensure that the travel industry respects and promotes human rights globally.

As a leading provider of online travel and related services, we recognize that the travel and tourism industry in general and our work across the industry through our brands may impact human rights. Some examples of how we think about meeting our responsibility to respect human rights include:

  • Human Trafficking, Forced Labor and Child Labor: We oppose all forms of modern slavery, servitude, forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking, and we are  developing due diligence processes to mitigate the potential that our platform is used to facilitate such activities.
  • Discrimination, Harassment and Abuse: We established, and enforce, our Trust and Safety Resource Center rules and regulations, our House Rules, and Terms and Conditions, prohibiting all forms of discrimination, harassment, and abuse, and offering a channel for customers to connect with us in case of emergency or to lodge a concern. When our operations, business partnerships, or experiences involve locations where laws and regulations may not offer protections against discrimination, harassment or abuse in line with international standards, we expect our partners and customers to meet the highest international standards.
  • Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas: For locations in conflict-heavy, high-risk, disputed, or occupied territories, we have committed to conducting heightened due diligence for listings. Where this heightened due diligence process finds that we may be directly linked to negative human rights impacts through the activities of our listings, we will consider the situation and take appropriate action. We are committed to providing customers with transparent information on listings in conflict-affected and high-risk areas so that they may make informed and educated decisions about their selections. That includes clearly identifying the location of the listing and a narrative description of the conflict or risk area by a neutral third party, such as the description provided to travelers by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.
  • Protecting Local Cultures, Communities, and Natural Resources: We strive to mitigate the potentially negative effects of travel and tourism on local cultures, communities, and natural resources through our sustainability commitments.
  • Privacy and Data Protection: We operate in accordance with our Code of Conduct, which controls our core privacy principles. To further protect our customers, business partners, and employees, we require that all data disclosure requests submitted to us by law enforcement authorities around the world articulate a clear legal basis for the request as well as a clear and narrow focus of the data being requested, as articulated in our Law Enforcement Guidelines and brand privacy policies.
  • Our Employees: All our employees, regardless of where they are located, are entitled to the same rights to be free from discrimination, harassment, or abuse.

Our corporate Risk Management Committee, along with our Chief Compliance & Ethics Officer, oversees the implementation of our human rights policy and program. A Human Rights Risk Steering Committee, under our corporate Risk Management Committee, coordinates our efforts to identify, address, and report our human rights risks and opportunities and fosters dialogue on these issues with human rights experts and stakeholders. We integrate human rights due diligence into our existing enterprise risk management annual assessment. Further, we publish an annual report that details the company’s sustainability efforts including human rights. Updates relating to our journey of respecting human rights will continue to live here.

UN Guiding Principles and other international standards and principles inform and guide our Human Rights Statement and human rights program. We believe fundamentally in public policies and laws that promote travel and open borders while protecting human rights. It is further a core belief that customers should be empowered to make their own decisions about where to travel and visit and that in general, it is not our place to restrict their choices.

Thus, we permit all accommodations worldwide to register themselves on our websites and to offer their accommodations to travelers, where this is in compliance with legislation applicable to our operations. Where clearly defined and applicable laws or sanctions prohibit us from offering our services, we fully comply with such restrictions. That said, we are aware that even in locations where we are legally permitted to offer services, locations with existing high risks of human rights violations may exacerbate safety risks, as well as certain human rights impacts and risks for local communities, customers, and others. We believe that a policy that analyzes listings on a case-by-case basis, with robust stakeholder engagement, heightened due diligence, informed by UNGPs 17-19, best comports with our fundamental beliefs in travel, open borders, and customer autonomy.

For locations in conflict-heavy, high-risk, disputed, or occupied territories, we have committed to conducting heightened due diligence for listings. Where this heightened due diligence process finds that we may be directly linked to negative human rights impacts through the activities of our listings, we will consider the situation and take appropriate action in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

We are committed to providing customers with transparent information on listings in conflict-affected and high-risk areas so that they may make informed and educated decisions about their selections. That includes clearly identifying the location of the listing and a narrative description of the conflict or risk area by a neutral third party, such as the description provided to travelers by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.

For locations in conflict-heavy, high-risk, disputed, or occupied territories, we have committed to conducting heightened due diligence for listings. Where this heightened due diligence process finds that we may be directly linked to negative human rights impacts through the activities of our listings, we will consider the situation and take appropriate action.

We are committed to providing customers with transparent information on listings in conflict-affected and high-risk areas so that they may make informed and educated decisions about their selections. That includes clearly identifying the location of the listing and a narrative description of the conflict or risk area by a neutral third party.

We also insist that listings adhere to domestic laws that may provide protections against human rights violations and abuses.

We operate in 223 countries and territories. We operate under a fundamental presumption that we will permit listings in territories unless legally prohibited, whether by sanctions or other legal regimes, or where the listing is fundamentally unsafe. We believe that a policy that analyzes listings on a case-by-case basis, with robust stakeholder engagement, heightened due diligence, informed by UNGPs 17-19, best comports with our fundamental beliefs in travel, open borders, and customer autonomy.

Pursuant to our Human Rights Statement, we seek to avoid being connected to human rights abuses. Where we determine that we cause or contribute to a negative impact, we will provide or participate in remediation. Where we determine that we may be directly linked to negative human rights impacts throughout the activities of our listing, we will consider the situation and take appropriate action.

Our Human Rights Program will coordinate and measure our human rights due diligence across our brands. It will prioritize and identify emerging risks and opportunities related to human rights. Our Human Rights Program also will lead our engagement and consultation efforts with diverse global stakeholders. We will report on our human rights progress in our annual Sustainability report.

Regarding LGBTQ+ guests specifically, Booking.com has established the Travel Proud Program to help remove barriers that LGBTQ+ travelers face. We believe that all people, irrespective of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, are entitled to enjoy the protections provided for by international human rights law, including the right to be free from discrimination. However, as the UN Office of the High Commissioner has made clear, there is a State obligation to safeguard the rights of LGBTQ+ people. The core legal obligations of States include prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and we encourage every State to enact such laws. While we will educate our partners and guests on our core values and Human Rights Statement, and will help promote partners who join our Travel Proud Program and support LGBTQ+ travel, we ultimately will not sanction listings who do not violate their domestic anti-discrimination LGBTQ+ laws. In all other situations, we maintain our zero tolerance policy against discrimination and prohibit unlawful discrimination of any kind.

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