Public comment on the Initial Report on the Protection of IGO and INGO Identifiers in All gTLDs, by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Society legal advisers and similar officers
Public comment on the Initial Report on the Protection of IGO and INGO Identifiers in All gTLDs, by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Society legal advisers and similar officers On behalf of the National Red Cross and National Red Crescent Societies listed below, we are writing in relation to the Initial Report on the Protection of IGO and INGO Identifiers in All gTLDs, prepared by ICANN staff and the PDP Working Group and posted for public comment on 14 June 2013. The National Societies concerned wish to offer the following comments on the report and its recommendations. (1) Having been actively engaged in this long-standing issue, National Red Cross and National Red Crescent Societies reiterate our firm support for permanent protection of the Red Cross, Red Crescent and Red Crystal designations and related names from registration as top and second level domain names. In this regard we support the submissions of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the two international components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the Movement). (2) We express our appreciation for the progress already achieved, in particular the confirmation by ICANN's Board of a temporary reservation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent designations at the top and second levels, as set out in the Applicant Guidebook and in Annex 5 to the revised Registry Agreement. This welcome step indicates that the protection of the designations, which is based upon universally accepted norms of international humanitarian law and which is supported by the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) to ICANN, is being given due consideration. (3) The protection of these designations stems from the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, as well as from the legislation in force in over 130 countries ( about:blank#_ftn1 ) (a small selection of the latter was identified in the research undertaken by ICANN’s General Counsel, as set out in Annex 4 to the Initial Report on the Protection of IGO and INGO Identifiers in All gTLDs). Like the distinctive emblems of the red cross and red crescent to which they relate, their primary use is by the Medical Service of countries’ armed forces in times of armed conflict. They also form part of the names of Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations, in order to show their membership of the Movement. On this basis, the distinctive emblems and their designations play an essential function in wartime and in other humanitarian emergencies, and are protected by international and national laws at all times. Their misuse or unauthorised use risks undermining their special meaning and purpose. (4) National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies take note of the Initial Report on the Protection of IGO and INGO Identifiers in All gTLDs Policy Development Process, and of the various policy recommendations set out in sections 4.3 to 4.7 of the report. Although we do not object to the approach of the GAC, which groups the Red Cross/Red Crescent and IOC cases together, we find helpful the view taken by the PDP Working Group that protections of IGO, INGO, IOC and Red Cross/Red Crescent identifiers may be considered separately from one another. We would encourage ICANN and its decision-making authorities to confirm the reservation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent designations from top and second level registration in the current round and in all future rounds of application. (5) Additionally, we would strongly urge ICANN to further protect the Red Cross and Red Crescent designations as follows: The express extension of the current protection of reserved Red Cross and Red Crescent designations (as foreseen in Annex 5 to the revised Registry Agreement mentioned above) to the full names of the respective Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations (i.e. the 189 recognised National Red Cr oss and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies). This would conform to the requirements of international law and ensure that the reservation covers not only the designations per se (i.e. Red Cross or Red Crescent), but also the full names of the Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations, such as “American Red Cross”, “Croix-Rouge française”, or “Egyptian Red Crescent”, in the official languages of their respective States of origin. The names of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies should be included in the six United Nations languages, as well as their usual initials (ICRC and IFRC). Such protection could be implemented in one of two ways: - an extension of the current list of reserved Red Cross and Red Crescent designations to include a full list of the names of the Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations; or - the implementation of a string similarity review mechanism “by key word” to prevent the registration of strings including either of the “red cross” or “red crescent” designations. The inclusion of the Red Cross and Red Crescent designations and names on a “Modified Reserved Names List”. This would importantly preserve the entitlement of Movement components to register relevant domain names should they require to do so. This would also conform with the above-mentioned international treaties and norms, which provide for use of the designations by the respective Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations to show their membership of the Movement. The establishment of a string similarity review to prevent the registration of strings confusingly similar to the Red Cross and Red Crescent designations and related names at the top and second levels. This would reflect the provisions of international humanitarian law expressly prohibiting unauthorised use, at all times, of imitations of the designations (Article 53 of the First Geneva Convention). Illustrations of such imitations include, for example, ‘Red Kross’ or ‘Redd Crescent’. We would like once again to express our appreciation to ICANN and its respective bodies and constituencies for their continued consideration of this important matter. The protection of the Red Cross and Red Crescent designations from any form of misuse, while the primary responsibility of States, is a core function of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Together with the distinctive emblems, these designations facilitate the protection and safe access of armed forces’ medical services and of others caring for the wounded and sick in times of armed conflict. They also serve to identify Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations, who are mandated to provide neutral and impartial humanitarian assistance in all situations of crisis. Thank you in advance for considering the above. On behalf of legal advisers and similar officers from the following National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: Afghan Red Crescent Society American Red Cross Australian Red Cross Bangladesh Red Crescent Society Belarus Red Cross Society Belgian Red Cross British Red Cross Bulgarian Red Cross Burundi Red Cross Canadian Red Cross Red Cross Society of China Cook Islands Red Cross Society Red Cross Society of Côte D’Ivoire Colombian Red Cross Danish Red Cross Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Ecuadorian Red Cross Egyptian Red Crescent Ethiopian Red Cross Society Finnish Red Cross French Red Cross Georgia Red Cross Society German Red Cross Ghana Red Cross Society Red Cross Society of Guinea-Bissau Iranian Red Crescent Society Iraqi Red Crescent Society Irish Red Cross Magen David Adom in Israel Jamaica Red Cross Japanese Red Cross Society Korean Red Cross (Republic of) Lebanese Red Cross Lithuanian Red Cross Society Malawi Red Cross Society Malaysian Red Crescent Maldivian Red Crescent Mozambique Red Cross Society Namibia Red Cross Society Nepal Red Cross Society New Zealand Red Cross Red Cross Society of Niger Nigerian Red Cross Society Norwegian Red Cross Philippine Red Cross Polish Red Cross Qatar Red Crescent Society Saudi Red Crescent Authority Sierra Leone Red Cross Society Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Swedish Red Cross Swiss Red Cross Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan Tanzania Red Cross Society Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates  ( about:blank#_ftnref1 )Source: ICRC database on national implementation (accessible at http://www.icrc.org/ihl-nat). 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