There have been calls from both inside Ukraine and within the broader RIPE community for RIPE NCC to “take action” against Russia in light of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
While this might seem like a “good idea”, it’s really not. (See also my post from earlier today about the Ukrainian demands to ICANN)
RIPE NCC’s Board met yesterday and have issued a very clear statement on the organisation’s position – emphasis added :
Dear members, At its meeting yesterday, the RIPE NCC Executive Board approved the following resolution: The RIPE NCC provides critical services to its membership spread across a diverse geographical and political region. The Executive Board of the RIPE NCC believes that the means to communicate should not be affected by domestic political disputes, international conflicts or war. This includes the provision of correctly registered Internet numbering resources. The Executive Board of the RIPE NCC is committed to taking all lawful steps available to ensure that the RIPE NCC can provide undisrupted services to all members across our service region and the global Internet community. The RIPE NCC will publicly document all its efforts to ensure that the registry is not negatively affected by laws, regulations or political developments. —- It is crucial that the RIPE NCC remains neutral and does not take positions with regard to domestic political disputes, international conflicts or war. This guarantees equal treatment for all those responsible for providing Internet services. This is a fundamental reason why the RIPE NCC has been able to maintain its operations in the way it has for the past three decades. It also means that the information and data provided by the RIPE NCC can be trusted as authoritative and free from bias or political influence. Failure to adhere to this approach would jeopardise the very model that has been key to the development of the Internet in our service region. The Executive Board also expresses solidarity with those operators who have the difficult task of maintaining Internet access to assist the people suffering from the terrible effects of armed conflicts and war. Kind regards, Christian Kaufmann Chairman of the RIPE NCC Executive Board
Personally I believe RIPE NCC’s Board have hit the proverbial nail on the head. RIPE NCC (and other RIRs) can only really work properly if they are neutral. If they start getting sucked into disputes either within or between countries in their service region then the entire system falls apart. By taking a very firm neutral stance they are able to maintain a stable experience for internet users everywhere. That’s how it should be.