African Human Rights Law Journal Vol 21, No 1, 2021

This issue appears as the African human rights system, similarly, marks its evolution into greater maturity. In 2021 Africa celebrates 40 years since the adoption (on 27 June 1981) of the (Banjul) African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and 35 years since its entry into force (on 21 October 1986). The second issue of the Journal, to appear in December 2021, will in major part be devoted to scholarship on the evolution, growth and contemporary relevance of the African Charter. The articles in this issue of the Journal cover a broad range of thematic concerns, but all grapple with aspects of particular relevance to Africa and Africans. The first four articles deal with aspects of the African human rights system, which remains one of the areas in respect of which the Journal invites and publishes numerous scholarly contributions. While the second two articles concern aspects dealt with explicitly in the African Charter (or its Women’s Rights Protocol), the first (by Kariseb) examines the functioning of the African Commission’s special procedure mechanisms. These special mechanisms are not explicitly provided for in the African Charter, and their establishment is an example of the progressive interpretation of its mandate by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission). Of the 42 state parties to the African Women’s Protocol, only 17 have submitted a report under article 26 of the Protocol. Johnson’s article identifies obstacles experienced by state parties in reporting to the African Commission. The inclusion of justiciable socio-economic rights is one of the most notable features of the African Charter. Amin interrogates the suitability of a ‘teleological approach’ to their interpretation. Mujuzi discusses the right to return to one’s country, as provided for under article 12(2) of the African Charter. The next three articles deal with issues of broader continental relevance. Atabongawung ponders the implication of a legallybinding instrument on business and human rights for the right to development in Africa. It should be recalled that the right to development has been made justiciable in the African Charter. Ntlama-Makhanya and Lubisi-Bizani explore the implications and relevance of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for women’s access to justice. Against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, Makwaiba contemplates how best the balance is struck between the individual’s fundamental human rights and the protection of the public. The sub-regional dimension remains of great relevance in Africa. Even as the movement towards regional integration accelerates, it is clear that effectively functioning regional economic communities form the building blocks for greater regionalism. As much as African sub-regional arrangements have come about as pivots for economic development, they also play important roles in peace and security. Gichana makes a case for a greater institutional and normative role for sub-regional organisations in respect of coercive measures against states, under the mantle of the ‘responsibility to protect’. The Journal then turns to country-focused analyses. The countries covered are Kenya (with contributions by Igbayiloye and Bradlow; Bwire, Akech and Meroka-Mutua; and Koske and Milej); Nigeria (with articles by Eyongndi and Adebimpe); South Africa (with a contribution by Lasseko-Phooko and Mahomed); Tanzania (with Kaniki contributing an article); and Zimbabwe (with an article by Kasuso and Madebwe). As is customary, the issue contains a section in which recent developments are discussed. Chamberlain and Khunou explore the far-reaching impact of a recent decision of the High Court of South Africa sitting in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal (Mshengu v uMsunduzi Local Municipality), on the realisation of the right of access to water for people living on farms. Kondo, Masike, Chihera and Mbonderi look at judicial decisions on Zimbabwe’s constitutional socio-economic rights, culminating in the 2018 Supreme Court decision in City of Harare v Mushoriwa.