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JUBA - 26 Apr 2021

New UNMISS chief expresses hope for durable peace in South Sudan

The United Nations is strongly committed to working with the people and leaders of South Sudan to secure stability and eventual prosperity for the world’s newest nation, Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General said on his arrival in the country. 

“South Sudan is entering a new phase and people’s expectations are high. There is real hope for progress in the implementation of the peace agreement and, ultimately, achieving more durable peace,” Haysom said. “As partners in that process, the UN will continue to work with South Sudanese as well as regional and international partners to provide stability and, ultimately, secure prosperity for all citizens.”

Nicholas Haysom arrived in Juba yesterday to take up his role as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), replacing the outgoing David Shearer.  

According to a press release from UNMISS, as an international lawyer with expertise in reconciliation and peace processes, democratic governance, and constitutional and electoral reform, Haysom has a long history of supporting South Sudan, including assisting the 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,” he said. “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 preparations for elections.”

UNMISS will also continue to search for new ways to magnify the impact of its activities and improve its performance in carrying out its mandated work to protect civilians and build peace, Haysom said. 

“I am very much looking forward to serving and supporting the people of this country so that they can enjoy the much brighter future that they deserve,” he concluded.

In January 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Nicholas Haysom of South Africa as his Special Representative for South Sudan and Head of UNMISS. 

From 2002 to 2005, Haysom was the principal adviser to the Mediator in the Sudanese Peace Process. He was involved in the Burundi Peace Talks as Chair of the committee negotiating constitutional issues from 1999 to 2002 under the facilitation of late former President 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.

From 2019 to 2020, Haysom served as the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sudan. From 2018 to 2019, he was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission to 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. 

Haysom earned a degree in law from the Universities of Natal and Cape Town in South Africa. He also received honorary doctorates from the University of Cape Town and New York Law School.