The Council of Europe has decided it wants to play a more hands-on role in ICANN, voting recently to try to get itself an observer’s seat on the Governmental Advisory Committee.
The Council, which comprises ministers from 47 member states, said it “could encourage due consideration of fundamental rights and freedoms in ICANN policy-making processes”.
ICANN’s ostensibly technical mission may at first seem a bit narrow for considerations as lofty as human rights, until you consider areas where it has arguably failed in the past, such as freedom of expression (its clumsy rejection of .xxx) and privacy (currently one-sided Whois policies).
The Council voted to encourage its members to take a more active role in the GAC, and to “make arrangements” for itself to sit as an observer on its meetings.
It also voted to explore ways to help with the creation of a permanent GAC secretariat to replace the current ad hoc provisions.
The Council of Europe is a separate entity to the European Union, comprising more countries. Its biggest achievement was the creation of the European Court of Human Rights.