In this issue of the Journal, attention is devoted to a variety of themes related to human rights in particular states and in Africa more generally. Specific states covered are Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Some of the novel themes include the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination, discussed against the background of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and the adoption by the SADC Parliamentary Forum of a Model Law on HIV for Southern Africa.

Some of the contributions in this issue are based on papers presented at the annual conference of partner faculties involved in and students registered for the LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa). This meeting took place at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, on 8 and 9 December 2008. The main themes of the conference were democratisation and recent elections in Africa, and the role of human rights law in addressing poverty.

A new addition to this issue is an overview of developments during 2008, in particular in three thematic areas of interest to readers: international criminal justice in Africa, and human rights developments in the African Union, and under the ambit of sub-regional economic communities. In addition, activities of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child are once again reviewed.
It is indeed a cause for concern that the relationship between the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court of Justice has not yet been finalised. Although both these institutions have adopted draft or interim Rules of Procedure to deal with the issue, they are yet to meet to engage in discussions on this matter. We urge the two bodies to bring these efforts to finality as soon as possible.

The editors convey their thanks to the following independent reviewers, who so generously assisted in ensuring the quality of the Journal: Divine Afuba, Jean Allain, Cecile Aptel, Gina Bekker, Chacha Bhoke, Trynie Boezaart, Kealeboga Bojosi, Erika de Wet, Curtis Doebbler, John Dugard, Patrick Eba, Geoff Gilbert, Waruguru Kaguongo, Muhammed Ladan, Jeremy Levitt, Sandra Liebenberg, Freddy Mnyongani, Caroline Nicholson, Kalkidan Obse and Karen Stefiszyn.