By Michelle Graff
Graff,-MichelleI don’t disagree.

Over the course of the past week, an industry leader blasted the NGOs involved in the Kimberley Process, claiming basically that they fabricate the reports of human rights abuses in Africa to stay relevant and continue receiving funding. The NGOs, of course, fired back, calling his claims “ridiculous.”

While the dust was settling on that front, I read a report published last Thursday claiming that the United States is still not meeting the minimum requirements of the Kimberley Process.

The U.S. State Department, of course, fired back, pointing out what it says are inaccuracies in the story and complaining that it was based on a leaked copy of the recent KP review mission report on the U.S. (The KP periodically conducts review missions to member countries to make sure they are KP compliant; the review of the U.S. took place in December.) The author of the report, of course, fired back, denying that he had obtained a copy of the aforementioned report.

One of my colleagues wrote an excellent blog earlier this year in which he noted what I am about to here: that all this back-and-forth bickering only makes the industry look bad.

But I also am going to make another point and it is this: the Kimberley Process needs to be more open so that all journalists can objectively report on what’s going on, period.

The year is 2013. Information is easily made widely accessible via the Internet. The KP has a functioning website and it even includes a section called “Review Visits.” But all that’s there is an Excel spreadsheet listing the dates and participants in past visits, and the most recently documented one is from June 2011.

Post completed review mission reports online so the public can access them, redacting sensitive information where necessary. Include a calendar on the site of what review missions are being conducted and when we can expect those reports to be concluded.

Greater transparency is something, I should mention, that those involved with the KP here in the United States say they support, despite recent claims the country is seeking to bury its own review mission report.

It is also my understanding that when the review mission report on the United States is completed it will go online, on the website of both the KP and the State Department.

I’ll be eager to see it, hopefully alongside other reports.

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