[bestbits] CIS' Statement on Sexual Harassment at ICANN55

Anriette Esterhuysen anriette at apc.org
Tue Mar 22 12:07:27 EDT 2016

Dear Sunil

APC supports the CIS statement and express our solidarity with Padmini.


On 21/03/2016 13:00, Sunil Abraham wrote:
> The Centre for Internet and Society
> Statement on Sexual Harassment at ICANN55
> The Centre for Internet and Society (“CIS”) strongly condemns the acts
> of sexual harassment that took place against one of our representatives,
> Ms. Padmini Baruah, during ICANN 55 in Marrakech. It is completely
> unacceptable that an event the scale of an ICANN meeting does not have
> in place a formal redressal system, a neutral point of contact or even a
> policy for complainants who have been put through the ordeal of sexual
> harassment. ICANN cannot claim to be inclusive or diverse if it does not
> formally recognise a specific procedure or recourse under such instances.
> Ms. Baruah is by no means the first young woman to be subject to such
> treatment at an ICANN event, but she isthe first to raise a
> formalcomplaint. Following the incident, she was given no immediate
> remedy or formal recourse, and that has left her with no option but to
> make the incident publicly known in the interim. The ombudsman’s office
> has been in touch with her, but this administrative process is simply
> inadequate for rights-violations.
> Ms. Baruah has received support from various community, staff, and board
> members. While we are thankful for their support, we believe that this
> situation can be better dealt with through some positive measures. We
> ask that ICANN carry out the following steps in order to make its
> meetings a truly safe and inclusive space:
>  1.
>     Institute a formal redressal system and policy with regard to sexual
>     harassment within ICANN. The policy must be displayed on the ICANN
>     website, at the venue of meetings and made available in delegate kits.
>  2.
>     Institute an Anti Sexual Harassment Committee that is neutral and
>     approachable. Merely having an ombudsman who is a white male,
>     however well intentioned, is inadequate and completely unhelpful to
>     the complainant. The present situation is one where the ombudsman
>     has no effective power and only advises the board.
>  3.
>     Conduct periodic gender and sexual harassment training of the ICANN
>     board to help them better understand these issues.
>  4.
>     Conduct periodic gender and sexual harassment training for the
>     ombudsman even if he/she will not be the exclusive point of contact
>     for complainants as the ombudsman forms an important part of
>     community and participant engagement.
>  5.
>     Conduct periodic gender sensitisation for the ICANN community.
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Anriette Esterhuysen
Executive Director
Association for Progressive Communications
anriette at apc.org
IM: ae_apc

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