[AFRI-Discuss] Fwd: [At-Large] Question for African ALSes

Nick Ashton-Hart nashton at spamcop.net
Fri Feb 9 09:11:07 EST 2007

Dear all:

Please see the below.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Vittorio Bertola <vb at bertola.eu>
Date: 09-Feb-2007 13:30
Subject: Re: [At-Large] Question
To: Roberto Gaetano <roberto at icann.org>
Cc: alac at atlarge-lists.icann.org, Alan Levin <alan at futureperfect.co.za>

Roberto Gaetano ha scritto:
> Folks,
> This question is mainly directed at our African colleagues, but I am not
> subscribed to that region's list and also think that this could raise a
> discussion of general interest.
> The Board will consider in the next weeks the request for delegation of
> the .eh ccTLD for West Sahara.

I must add that I have been quite vocal on the Board list, trying to
push the point of view that if the delegation meets the usual
requirements, then the contested situation in the country should not be
a basis for its rejection.

[To recap: Western Sahara is (apart from a few island territories such
as the Cayman Islands etc.) the only remaining colony in the world. It
used to be a Spanish colony until 1975, when the ongoing rebellion of
the Polisario Front - the fighting organization of the local Sahrawi
people - prompted Spain to abandon it. Then, even if the United Nations
recognized its right to self-determination and an independent republic
was proclaimed, it was militarly occupied by Morocco, that claims to
have rights to its territory. This prompted a war that lasted until the
90's, when both sides agreed to a UN peace plan that foresaw a
referendum on the future status of the territory. Unfortunately, no
agreement has ever been reached on who would be entitled to vote, and so
the situation is stuck. The territory is presently divided by a wall,
with 2/3 of the territory including all major cities and resources
staying under Moroccan rule, and 1/3 of desert being under the control
of the Polisario Front. Of course, all of the above is subject to
different interpretation depending to whom you talk to.]

Specifically, I would be concerned if ICANN, in front of a technically
valid application, refused to approve it for fear of an upset reaction
by some governments (starting from Morocco). I think that governments -
especially the ones of the neighbouring countries - are not the only or
even the main stakeholder in the matter. I also assume that we, as the
At Large, are the constituency that has the duty to represent the
interests of the local users of the Internet in Western Sahara, or, "the
people" if you like, and this is why I'm not too keen on letting this
request be let down too easily (even if, of course, I still have to see
whether the request is appropriate and meets the requirements).

Of course, any direct contact with groups and Internet users in Western
Sahara would be useful. Also, I would of course take any collective
views on the matter, if different from the above.
vb.                   Vittorio Bertola - vb [a] bertola.eu   <--------
-------->  finally with a new website at http://bertola.eu/  <--------

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Nick Ashton-Hart
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