While I am ICANN's CTO, in this context I speak only for myself, but do so with 
a bit of background in creating and running a Regional Internet Registry and 
formerly being responsible for the IANA functions. I have hesitated to comment 
on this thread as I am not a resource holder in the AfriNIC region, but at the 
suggestion that ICANN can "help", I felt compelled to say something.
> Then again, when the Chairman of ICANN stands up and says that ICANN can help.
> "Hi, my name is Steve Crocker, I am Chairman of ICANN and I'm here to help 
> you. (Regarding) take out of the root the affected ccTLD names" and he then 
> volunteered assistance from ICANN staff - also saying it would take between 
> two and five years to get to a decision whether to proceed or not.
I believe Dr. Crocker was attempting to point out that developing this sort of 
policy will require a very (very) unlikely consensus of a large array of 
stakeholders (including governments) and it will take a very (very) long time 
to get to a point where the policy would even be considered, much less 

For a bit of context, I believe the last PDP in the ccNSO (the group at ICANN 
that develops policy for ccTLDs) took about 9 years (depending on how you 
measure). Perhaps relevantly, there is no policy to remove a ccTLD from the 
root (aka "retiring the ccTLD") and the ccTLD community is now working on the 
policy to do just that. Personally, I'd be surprised if that PDP took less time.

However, to be clear, if a stakeholder in the ICANN community would like to 
make a proposal along these lines, the ICANN organization's job is to 
facilitate the policy definition process for that proposal, regardless of 
whether we (ICANN staff) think the proposal will ever or could ever get 
> The current policy concept does not go that far - but to me - certainly 
> suggests that the idea of punitive actions against governments is worth 
> looking at.
IMHO, it's worth looking at only in the sense of "here is an example of a 
really bad idea."

The concept that a private organization providing a service in the public 
interest at the direction of the community for the benefit of the community can 
apply punitive actions against a governments, some of which are members of that 
community, is a great way to make that private organization irrelevant.

If AfriNIC chooses to refuse to allocate address space in response to a valid 
request as a punitive measure, they are violating the basic tenets by which 
AfriNIC was created. The RIRs are a resource distribution mechanism that serves 
as a way of avoiding a myriad of bilateral arrangements that would be necessary 
to document which network operator holds/announces which addresses. The RIRs 
are NOT a police force and have no mandate to punish governments. An attempt to 
convert AfriNIC into the Internet police will result in a fracturing of the 
rough consensus by which AfriNIC exists.

Further, this proposal, if enacted, will likely cause network operators in 
countries impacted by a shutdown to be forced to choose between abiding by the 
laws of their country and the policies of AfriNIC. If a government imposes a 
shutdown and is punished by AfriNIC, that government may choose to squat on 
address space and pass laws that force ISPs within that country to abide by 
that squatting or they'll simply go to the secondary market. In both cases, 
this proposal risks making AfriNIC irrelevant and/or damaging the global 
distributed registration database. Never forget participation in the RIR system 
is entirely voluntary -- it only works because network operators agrees it 
works. Make it challenging for those network operators and they'll find other 
ways to have their needs met.

FWIW, while I personally understand the concerns that led to the anti-shutdown 
proposal, I believe the concept of using AfriNIC as a weapon to punish 
governments is fundamentally flawed.

(speaking only for myself)

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