South African heads up UNMISS

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Another notable position is now on South African lawyer Nicholas “Fink” Haysom’s international relations CV following his arrival in South Sudan at the weekend as the UN Secretary General’s special representative in the world’s youngest country and head of UNMISS, the world body’s mission in the east African country.

Speaking on arrival in the capital, Juba, Haysom said: “South Sudan is entering a new phase and people’s expectations are high. There is real hope for progress in implementation of the peace agreement and, ultimately, achieving a more durable peace”.

“As partners in the process, the UN will continue to work with the South Sudanese people as well as regional and international partners to provide stability and secure prosperity for all citizens.”

After completing mandatory quarantine in compliance with local COVID-19 protocols, he will begin meeting with South Sudan leaders, the diplomatic community and other key stakeholders in the peace process.

As an international lawyer with expertise in reconciliation and peace processes, democratic governance, constitutional and electoral reform, Haysom has a history of supporting South Sudan, including assisting in negotiation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

“It is a privilege to continue my relationship with South Sudan by serving in this new role, leading UNMISS in its peacekeeping and peacebuilding work. Our priority is to support all efforts to push the peace process forward with a focus on key areas such as constitution-making, security, justice and economic reforms and assisting in preparations for elections.”

UNMISS will continue to magnify the impact of its own activities and improve performance in carrying out its mandated work to protect civilians and build peace, he said.

“I look forward to serving and supporting the people of this country so they can enjoy the brighter future they deserve,” the man who was chief legal advisor in the Office of the then president (Nelson Mandela) between 1994 and 1999 said.

Prior to returning to Africa, Haysom was Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ special advisor for Southern Africa.



Before that, he was the UN top man’s special advisor on Sudan.  From 2018 to 2019, he was the Secretary-General’s special representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).  He also served as special representative of the Secretary‑General for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from 2014 to 2016 and as Guterres’ deputy special representative for Afghanistan from 2012 to 2014.  He served as director for political, peacekeeping and humanitarian affairs in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General from 2007 to 2012 and was head of the Office of Constitutional Support for the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) between 2005 and 2007.