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RIPE NCC Executive Board Resolutions on Sanctions

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Minutes from recent RIPE NCC Executive Board meetings were published today. In the minutes are the following resolutions regarding the applicability of EU sanctions to our members:

  • "The Board resolved that the RIPE NCC shall explore all options for obtaining global exemptions for its operation from sanctions. The RIPE NCC will also be required to validate its interpretation of the status of IP address registration with relevant international authorities."
  • "The Board resolved that it is committed to complying with applicable sanctions obligations and directed the RIPE NCC to execute the appropriate response and investigate any means, within the provision of the law, to support the continued stable operation of the Internet according to its mission. The Board reaffirmed its understanding that the registration and management of Internet number resources, including IP addresses, should be outside the scope of political disputes."

In an announcement sent to the RIPE NCC membership earlier today, the Chairman of the RIPE NCC Executive Board gave a brief outline of the current situation regarding three members that are believed to be on the EU sanctions list and explained the board's position.

Current situation

In line with the above resolutions, today we notified two members in Iran and one in Syria that provision of services to them has been frozen and that we will initiate an audit of the relevant accounts, pending a response from the Dutch authorities. This means that their resources will not be deregistered, but we will also not process requests on their behalf.

The intent here is to ensure that we are taking appropriate steps to comply with any relevant sanctions in accordance with our obligations under Dutch law. At the same time, the board will defend its belief that our services should not be covered by sanctions.

The board’s position

A board resolution from 2014 provides the clearest statement of the board's position, which has not changed since then: "The Executive Board of the RIPE NCC believes that the means of communication should not be affected by political discussions or disputes. This includes the provision of correctly registered Internet numbering resources."

The board wishes to caution against measures applied in pursuit of short-term public policy objectives that may undermine the wider Internet governance system, which is essential to the stability of the global Internet. This is a system which is fundamentally based on cooperation.

The board also believes that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the Internet is a critical tool for meeting the essential needs of humanity. The board is committed to minimising the impact of any action that would limit people's ability to access this important global network.