The CCWP-HR and NCUC co-organized a workshop to introduce new HRIA models under development in ICANN to the broader internet governance community during the 2018 IGF, held 12-14 November in Paris. HRIAs are an increasingly popular tool in the private sector to identify salient rights, anticipate negative impacts, and mitigate harm.

In the digital space, it remains challenging to define rights-holders amongst internet users and anticipate impacts as technologies evolve. This was highlighted by many attendees, yet there was broad support for companies and standard-setting bodies to introduce human rights commitments and corresponding due diligence mechanisms. Another recurring theme was the value of bridging the internet governance community with the business and human rights field, the benefits of which were showcased during the session.

One area of divergence related to which subset of rights should be prioritized, e.g. children’s, cultural, or LGBTQI rights. HRIA practitioners provided examples demonstrating that impact assessment methodologies can be tailored to address specific, or various, categories of rights. As a result, participants suggested that such tools can make the subject of human rights more practical and tangible while allowing people with divergent positions to engage constructively.

There was widespread multistakeholder support for organizing a Cross-Community Session on the subject of human rights during ICANN64, which will be held in March 2019. This will be an opportunity to gather feedback on ongoing efforts to design and test impact assessments geared toward ICANN policy development processes. Potentially interested parties suggested were the NCSG, NCUC, and GAC working groups on Public Safety and International Human Rights Law. The initial HRIA model can be found here.

-Collin Kurre, CCWP-HR Chair