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October 2011 © SDC/Piette Terdjman

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On the occasion of Human Rights Day on 10 December 2017, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) takes stock of its efforts to promote human rights. The SDC aims to promote these rights in all its activities by adopting a people-centred approach while enhancing compliance with human rights obligations by duty bearers and strengthening people's ability to exercise their rights.

Feature OPINION People displaced by fighting wait to get water at a United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) camp in Malakal, Upper Nile State [Andreea Campeanu/Reuters] One last push to end South Sudan's deadly civil war Africa Link Winnie Byanyima / Al Jazeera 16 December 2017 I know and have seen war and its horror and cruelty in my own country. I have supported peace processes in conflicts since. But all of that didn't quite prepare me for my trip to South Sudan earlier this year. Since civil war broke out in December 2013, South Sudan has spiralled into a deeper state of emergency. It's a brutal conflict, steeped in claims of ethnic cleansing. A deadly hunger crisis reigns over parts of the country: It is the civilians, the women and the children who are paying the price. The palpable hope of South Sudan's independence in 2011 - something so many of us celebrated in our region -  now seems very distant.  Women - strong, hard-working and self-sacrificing women - told me, "We want to walk freely, we want to farm, we want to feed our families." They live in a city called Malakal, on a "Protection of Civilians" (POC) site. "At home, we used our hands for our work, now we have been turned into beggars, and we cannot provide for our families," Mary* told me. She lives on the site now, and like many women has been widowed by the conflict. I visited what felt like a ghost town. Malakal used to be South Sudan's second largest city after the capital, Juba. Now, most of its former residents have fled to neighbouring Sudan - the country that they fought for independence from so fiercely - or they live in the POC camps. The camp I visited is now home to many displaced women and girls; it is guarded by UN peacekeepers who line its outskirts, in tall watchtowers. They carry heavy weaponry in case the camp is attacked - which it has been, on several occasions. “I urge our leaders to give space at the negotiating table not only to those wielding a gun!” It is not a stretch for me to compare these camps to open-air prisons. This is not because these people are detained - they are not. It is also not a criticism of the United Nations for creating these sites - they are needed and have undoubtedly saved countless lives so far.  The camps do however signify the tragedy that the people of South Sudan face: people are there because they need protection from armed groups. I was told that should a person walk out of this camp they face the risk of persecution, harassment, even death. I will never forget the women I met who told me they have to choose between their children going hungry, or risking rape if they leave to search for food. The stories I heard are too awful to repeat. I saw the squalid conditions people have to live in, and I heard of the hunger people are enduring. A war of this nature, which is now so deeply rooted, is unlikely to end without a huge diplomatic effort - something which up to now, has fallen short.  Ending the war in South Sudan must be at the very top of African leaders' political agendas. It is a catastrophe for the entire continent, and our region's biggest refugee crisis. It is a shameful failure of leadership in Africa. The people of South Sudan and our region need renewed negotiations to begin, in order to bring genuine and long-lasting peace to the country. Peace may feel distant, but it is not unreachable. In December, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will be holding the High-Level Revitalisation Forum in Addis Ababa. It is a critical opportunity to bring together warring parties to seek a long-term solution to this bloody conflict. I call upon our regional leaders to push the warring parties to make the hard choices for peace. And together with our partners, Oxfam demands that regional and international powers throw their diplomatic weight behind a transparent and inclusive peace process.  The voices of the people affected by the conflict - women like Mary - must finally be heard. I urge our leaders to give space at the negotiating table to them, not only to those wielding a gun. Any political process must formalise the involvement of the South Sudanese people, including the millions of refugees now living in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, DRC and Kenya. This is the best way to establish a peace that lasts. Citizens have the right to determine the future of their country. Oxfam is supporting South Sudanese civil society, including refugees, to come together to deliver their message to this forum. This week, representatives from South Sudanese civil society, including refugee communities, will present their vision to IGAD on how to create long-lasting peace in their country.  The longer the international community is complacent, the more they risk being complicit. Failure is not an option. To ensure a credible peace process, we need timelines, indicators and accountability. This latest push for peace could end this war. Let us ensure it is guided by its people - not just the political elites. No person I met in South Sudan wants - and none of our leaders should want - countless more lives to be ruined through this war. *Name changed for privacy reasons The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy. Winnie Byanyima is the executive director of Oxfam International. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Winnie Byanyima is the executive director of Oxfam International.

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OPINION
I know and have seen war and its horror and cruelty in my own country. I have supported peace processes in conflicts since. But all of that didn't quite prepare me for my trip to South Sudan earlier this year.

A supporter raises his cowboy hat as US President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform during a visit to Loren Cook Company in Springfield, Missouri, US [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

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OPINION

America's first businessperson in the White House is doing more to destroy the American capitalist system than any previous president.

Welcome to the first in our series of blogs on investing in inclusive innovation ecosystems for Africa’s prosperity. In this first article, co-authored by AIF Chairman Walter Fust and Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) Director, Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, we unpack the meaning of inclusive innovation ecosystems, highlighting the essential role of “inclusivity” towards boosting Africa’s prosperity.

At a time that the media industry, globally, is confronting dwindling revenue for a host of reasons, it appears the New York Times is yet to fully harness the full potentials of revenue models available to it. New York Times only needs apply a little touch to its so called investigative stories to deliver a readymade blockbuster script to Hollywood in the fiction category.

 

The growing resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobials due to their overuse and misuse both in humans and animals has become an alarming global threat to public health, food safety and security, causing the deaths of 700,000 people each year. This is a fact.

SA Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (News Ghana)

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An Address by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at World AIDS Day 2017 commemoration, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha

Photo: Daily News

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As the world celebrates World Aids Day today, its prudent to review the fight against the scourge. Since the start of 21st Century, HIV/Aids has increasingly been labelled as an "African disease".

Women working in the farm

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The agriculture sector employs more people in Africa than any other industry and it also accounts for almost half of the continent’s GDP.
Yet inefficiencies in the sector have held back production in the sub-Saharan African region, hindering the sector’s growth and stymieing the industry’s ability to achieve cross-border trade and long-term food security.

The Ripening Market
Africa’s Private Equity Market is maturing quickly and growing even more crowded. According to the Boston Consulting Group’s 2016 report “Why Africa Remains Ripe for Private Equity”, around 25 years ago, only twelve African based Private Equity firms were managing a combined $1 billion. Today this figure is upwards of $ 30 billion managed by more than 200 African Private Equity firms.

Mukhisa Kituyi, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD.(www.uib.no)

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Four out of 10 international tourists in Africa come from the continent itself, according to the new UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report 2017: Tourism for Transformative and Inclusive Growth. In sub-Saharan Africa, this number increases to two out of every three tourists whose travels originate on the continent. Data backing this key finding show that, contrary to perception, Africans themselves are increasingly driving tourism demand in Africa.

International Alert works with young people in neighbourhoods near Tunis to promote local government participation and workforce development (swissinfo.ch)

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Urban working-class areas around the Tunisian capital, Tunis, have a reputation as breeding grounds for crime and religious extremism. Switzerland has contributed to a local project that aims to help youth find a job and get involved in public affairs. 

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