Nicholas Haysom of South Africa appointed as UNMISS head


The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Nicholas Haysom of South Africa as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)

Nicholas Haysom succeeds David Shearer who has been serving with UNMISS since his appointment on 13 December 2016. Haysom is currently the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Southern Africa, a position he has held since October 2020.

He is a lawyer with a long international career focused on democratic governance, constitutional and electoral reforms, reconciliation and peace processes. Hayson served as the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sudan from 2019 to 2020.

Haysom has also served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Somalia and Afghanistan and Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General, and Head of the Office of Constitutional Support for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq.

He was also the principal adviser to the Mediator in the Sudanese Peace Process from 2002 to 2005. He was involved in the Burundi Peace Talks as Chair of the committee negotiating constitutional issues from 1999 to 2002 under the facilitation of the late former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, and served in the Government of South Africa, including as Chief Legal and Constitutional Adviser in the Office of the President from 1994 to 1999.

He holds a degree in law from the Universities of Natal and Cape Town in South Africa, as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Cape Town and the New York Law School.


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