On Renewed Importance and Opportunities to Engage
10 ICANN meetings ago, the CCWP-HR was chartered with the objectives of providing information, facilitating dialogue, and making suggestions on ways to harmonize ICANN’s policies and procedures with internationally recognized human rights standards, among others.
Though the frequency of our posts dwindled over the past year as our members dedicated their time and efforts to enhancing diversity, transparency, and other rights-related considerations through Work Stream 2, the relevance of our Working Party has not diminished. Quite the contrary.
The new Human Rights Bylaw, a core value to “respect internationally recognized human rights as required by applicable law,” will come into effect this year. Quoting from the Bylaw’s Framework of Interpretation, “it is up to each SO and AC, and ICANN the organization, to develop their own policies and frameworks to fulfill this Core Value.” Compliance must—and will—happen. ICANN org’s  ongoing HRIA is a testament to their commitment to uphold this core value. Yet how this compliance will materialize in SOs, ACs, and the other parts of the ICANN remains to be seen.
As the only cross-community group mandated to provide information, suggestions, and recommendations to chartering organizations regarding human rights impacts and improvements, the CCWP-HR is uniquely positioned to play an influential role in these discussions moving forward. By extension, we—the members of the Working Party; an informal gathering of people interested in the intersection of human rights and ICANN—are also uniquely poised to help shape the community’s Human Rights compliance mechanisms as they develop.
In case you remain unconvinced or uninspired by the challenge of creating systems to uphold ICANN’s Human Rights Bylaw, there are myriad other ways to contribute to the discussion. In the past, members of the CCWP-HR have diagrammed ICANN Policies and Human Rights, documented potential human rights issues arising from gTLD subsequent procedures, and designed an initial sketch for incorporating human rights impact assessments into policy development processes.
Ongoing research in the CCWP-HR seeks to flesh out the effects of current policy development procedures on particular rights (presented at last meeting, see below). Getting involved in this project may be of interest to newcomers in particular, as it offers an opportunity to become more familiar with ICANN procedures while contributing to scholarship in the field human rights and Internet governance. Charting the decision-making processes of SOs and ACs, tracking the effectiveness of remedy and due process measures, or further exploring language rights in the ICANN context have all been floated as potential avenues for future research.
Thought guided by its charter, the CCWP-HR is driven by its members; that is, your interests, expertise, and experience. Meetings are important, but inter-sessional work shouldn’t be overlooked—lest the plurality of our Working Party be reduced to a precious few voices.
Got an idea for a paper? Float it on the list.
Have a doubt about operationalizing the Human Rights Bylaw in ASO, or ALAC, or other? Flag it on the list.
Is a half-baked idea taking shape, but not ready to share? Contact your co-chairs—we’re here to support you.
Collin Kurre and Michael Karanicolas