UNMISS Head Nicholas Haysom
UNMISS Head Nicholas Haysom

South African lawyer and diplomat Nicholas Haysom has replaced David Shearer as the new head of United Nations Mission in South Sudan.

Haysom was appointed in January by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and will assume his duties this month.
He will succeed David Shearer who was chosen to head the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in December 2016 by then United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, replacing Dane Ellen Margrethe Løj.

Mr. Haysom until his appointment was 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.

From 2019 to 2020, Mr. Haysom served as the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sudan. From 2018 to 2019, he was the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). He also served as Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from 2014 to 2016, and as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan from 2012 to 2014. He served as Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General from 2007 to 2012, and as Head of the Office of Constitutional Support for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) from 2005 to 2007.

Mr. Haysom 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.

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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