United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed decorated South African lawyer Nicholas Haysom as special representative for Somalia and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in the same country.
Guterres made the announcement on 12 September, with the appointment effective 1 October.
Haysom replaces Michael Keating, a Brit, whom the UN Secretary-General described as having displayed exemplary service and leadership.
Haysom is a lawyer with a long international career with a focus on democratic governance, constitutional and electoral reforms, reconciliation and peace processes.
In 2016, he was appointed the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.
Prior to this, he served as the special representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from 2014 to 2016 and was deputy special representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan from 2012 to 2014.
Between 2007 and 2012, he was the director of Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the UN Secretary-General’s executive office. Before this, he had a two-year stint as the Head of the Office of Constitutional Support for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq from 2005 to 2007.
In his earlier career, Haysom worked for the South African government as Chief Legal and Constitutional Adviser in the Office of the President from 1994 to 1999.
“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 Nelson Mandela. He was the principal adviser to the mediator in the Sudanese Peace Process from 2002 to 2005,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement.
The 66-year-old is married with five children and earned his law degree from the Universities of Natal and Cape Town in South Africa. In 2012, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Cape Town. – SAnews.gov.za