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South Africa’s Haysom to head UNMISS

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Sunday, January 17, 2021

Nicholas Haysom, Head of UN Mission in South Sudan. Credit | UN

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres has appointed Nicholas Haysom of South Africa as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Mr. Haysom will succeed David Shearer of New Zealand who has served as UNMISS head since 2016.

During Mr. Shearer’s tenure, South Sudan’s political leaders recommitted to peace through the revitalized peace agreement signed in September 2018.

Large-scale fighting has also subsided but clashes continue to be reported between communities and between the government and groups that did not sign a peace deal.

Announcing the appointment in a statement Friday, Antonio Guterres says he is “grateful” for Mr. Shearer’s “exemplary leadership of UNMISS during the time of critical developments and challenges in South Sudan.”

Mr. Haysom will head the almost 20,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission whose primary mandate is to protect civilians and help build peace.

He is currently the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Southern Africa, a position he has held since October 2020.

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.

He also served as Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan from 2014 to 2016, and as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan from 2012 to 2014.

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