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Conduct at ICANN Meetings

25 March 2016
By Akram Atallah

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During and after ICANN55 the issue of certain community-member conduct toward one another has been raised in various sessions and lists. I wanted to re-confirm that ICANN’s staff and Board takes the issue of harassment or other improper conduct at its meetings very seriously. We do not condone any such conduct, and there should be zero tolerance for it within the community.  

As an organization, ICANN has robust internal policies regarding the issue, including mandatory training for staff and Board members. However, ICANN community members are not bound to the same policies and rules.

We do require all community members to adhere to the Expected Standards of Behavior.

While we understand that the language of these Standards does not specifically address harassment, these Standards do provide our global, diverse multistakeholder community with a set of high-level guidelines for interacting with one another, which encompasses harassment and other improper treatment of others. As the Board previously committed, we are looking at whether it makes sense to enhance this language.

Both staff and the Board are committed to starting a discussion with the community on a possible path forward as well. This is an area where we feel it most appropriate that the community should lead any policy development to look into a process for handling harassment complaints. ICANN staff and Board will support as appropriate.

While the ICANN Ombudsman appropriately continues with his confidential investigation into specific matters, we ask that everyone read the Expected Standards of Behavior and conduct themselves with respect toward others. This includes:

Treat all members of the ICANN community equally, irrespective of nationality, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age, or sexual orientation; members of the ICANN community should treat each other with civility both face to face and online.


Akram Atallah

Former President, Global Domains Division