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ICANN Organization Publishes First Human Rights Impact Assessment

LOS ANGELES – 15 May 2019 – Today, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published its first internal Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA). The report, which was developed by Löning – Human Rights and Responsible Business, assesses the human rights impacts of ICANN's daily operations.

The Löning team used well-established and respected human rights mechanisms to assess internal organizational processes and procedures in the areas of human resources, procurement, meetings, and security operations. They analyzed and mapped the impacts, prioritizing based on their severity and on ICANN org's ability to leverage change. The Löning team reported overall positive findings along with a set of actionable recommendations to improve the impacts of ICANN's daily operations. Areas of improvement include continuing efforts to raise awareness and train staff on specific issues, as well as formalizing good practices into policies.

ICANN's President and Chief Executive Officer, Göran Marby said, "I am personally committed to respecting the human rights of all ICANN org staff members. This assessment is not only good for the organization, it is also the right thing to do. We now have a clear picture of what we're doing well, and where there are opportunities for continuous improvement."

In the year since the assessment was conducted, ICANN org has focused on needed improvements. A number of the recommendations were already a part of the organization's progression with some completed, some in progress, and some not on the roadmap for reasons suitable to the organization. Marby has asked Susanna Bennett, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, to lead a cross-functional team that will further this work by evaluating, assessing, and prioritizing the recommendations in order to incorporate the most suitable needs into the ICANN culture.

"ICANN has demonstrated its commitment and embraced its responsibility to enhance human rights, setting itself apart from many global organizations and businesses," said Markus Löning, CEO of the firm, former Commissioner for Human Rights in Germany, and leader of the assessment team.

The report will be translated into the additional five standard UN languages and made available on


ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

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Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."