- To: <bc-GNSO@xxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: [bc-gnso]
- From: "Zahid Jamil" <zahid@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2010 01:45:27 +0500
I have been informed by the ICANN Travel Staff that there are considerable
challenges being faced facilitating visas for several nationalities.
This stems from:
The fact that Colombia does not have missions (especially those that process
visa applications) in several developing countries
The fact that the Colombian Foreign Office has not been forthcoming in
streamlining visa applications in coordination with ICANN.
This means the following for me:
1. In all its wisdom the Colombian Govt. has designated its INDIAN
embassy for receiving Pakistani applications. Hence I first have to apply
for an INDIAN visa (as a Pakistani). As a Pakistani it is extremely
difficult to apply for Indian visa. The Indian Govt. may not be too
convinced by my purpose for travelling to India and it is possible that visa
is refused. In any case it can take up to 2 months to apply for an Indian
visa. Then if I get an Indian visa I will need to physically fly to India
and apply at the Colombian Embassy there and wait around until my visa is
issued. Then return to Pakistan. Then fly to Colombia.
2. To attempt to apply in the UK, for instance, there is every
possibility that even if they write to me that they are willing to accept my
application, when I arrive and apply, they not reject my application asking
me to fly to India instead. (ICANN had asked the SFO Colombian Embassy 3
times if they are willing to process visas in a group, to which they agreed
but when ICANN staff flew to SFO, they were told that the Colombian Embassy
staff was incorrect and so ICANN Staff had to fly back empty handed). Even
if by some luck another Embassy such as the UK Embassy issues me a Colombian
visa it is possible that when I arrive in Cartagena the immigration may take
the view that the visa has been issued from the wrong office and refuse
entry. (credit to ICANN they had even offered to fund a trip by participants
to such third countries to apply for visas)
3. The Colombian Foreign Office has informed a frustrated ICANN staff
that ICANN participants may be issued visas on arrival. However ICANN staff
has correctly cautioned that it may be possible that since this irregular I
could come across an immigration officer who may be unaware and so may
refuse entry. In any case airlines would not let passengers board their
flights unless they have visas and so I may find myself unable to board
flights to Cartagena and find myself stranded in Miami, for instance (not a
bad outcome either but doesn?t get me to the meeting).
And if you thought this was it ? there are other convoluted permutations to
the problem faced by me and participants from other countries.
Hence, I have taken the following decisions:
· It is best that the travel support allocated to me as a BC
Councillor instead be made available and be used for other BC participants.
· It is best that I not travel for this meeting considering the
confusion and uncertainty around visas and have chosen to make alternate
commitments during that time.
I hope that this experience demonstrates that by simply rotating meetings
and having them at exotic locations does not necessarily assist in
participation by developing countries.
Since many developing countries do not have the capacity to maintain
diplomatic missions all over the world and they need to prioritise, they
tend to have more missions in developed countries than in developing
countries. This by itself is a challenge for participation and ought to be
considered before choosing ICANN meeting venues.
Jamil & Jamil
219-221 Central Hotel Annexe
Merewether Road, Karachi. Pakistan
Tel: +92 21 35680760 / 35685276 / 35655025
Fax: +92 21 35655026
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