African Human Rights Law Journal Vol 20, No 2, 2020
The Journal consists of three sections. The first is a special focus section that assesses the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic regulations for human rights and the rule of law in Eastern and Southern Africa. Professor Charles Manga Fombad is the editor of this part of the journal. In a separate editorial, he sets out the context and overriding themes that are included. This section contains ten articles. The Journal thanks Professor Fombad for his meticulous control of the editorial processes of this part of the Journal. He was assisted by Tresor Makunya and Lukman Abdulrauf. We also thank and acknowledge the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Rule of Law for Sub-Saharan Africa division for its support of the conference at which drafts of the articles that are published here were presented, and for its support of this publication. The second part contains another special focus section. It deals with children’s rights under the theme ‘The African Children’s Charter at 30: reflections on its past and future contribution to the rights of children in Africa’. It contains an editorial by Dr Nkatha Murungi and four articles. This special focus section is the first in a two-part special focus on children’s rights. The remainder of the articles will appear in the first issue of the Journal in 2021. The third part of this issue contains articles on a variety of topics, in line with the usual approach of the Journal. Two of these articles deal with aspects of the judgments of the African Court. Jonas ponders the important question of the domestic effect of the African Court’s judgments, not only in respect of the respondent state in a particular case, but also as far as other state parties to the African Court Protocol are concerned. Kombo analyses one of the Court’s judgments (APDF and IHRDA v Mali), and criticises the Court’s superficial engagement with the vexing issue of derogation from rights. The omission of an explicit derogation clause has long been a matter of contention in academic scholarship. In Kombo’s view, the Court allowed to pass by an opportunity to provide more clarity on this issue. The compatibility of the declaration of a ‘state of emergency’ has been propelled into focus during COVID-19. Adopting Resolution 447 on upholding human rights during situations of emergency and in other exceptional circumstances (ACHPR/Res 447 (LXVI) 2020), the African Commission earlier this year tasked its Focal Point on Human Rights in Conflict Situations in Africa to ‘develop a normative framework in the form of Guidelines on adhering to human and peoples’ rights standards under the African Charter when declaring states of emergency or disaster’, taking account of the relevant Protocols to the African Charter and standards of the African Commission. Drawing on a comparison between Africa and Europe, Heikkilä and Mustaniemi-Laakso explore vulnerability as a human rights variable. Three contributing authors, all from countries in the Southern African Development Community, focus on aspects related to human rights and democracy at the national level. ‘Nyane and Maqakachane argue for a progressive approach to standing in public interest cases in Lesotho. Nyathi and Ncube examine human rights and rule of law implications of the 2017 military coup in Zimbabwe. Mahadew provides a critical assessment of the Children’s Bill of Mauritius.