|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NICHOLAS HAYSOM OF SOUTH AFRICA
EXECUTIVE OFFICE POLITICAL AFFAIRS DIRECTOR
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has decided to appoint Nicholas Haysom of South Africa as Director for Political Affairs in his Executive Office.
Mr. Haysom served as the head of the Office of Constitutional Support in the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) from April 2005 to August 2006. Since then, he has continued to supervise this team and also undertaken reviews of the peace processes in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Somalia. Before that, and since leaving his position as Legal Adviser to President Nelson Mandela in 1999, he has been engaged in resolving internal conflicts and advising on constitutional reform in East and Central Africa, and South and South-East Asia.
Mr Haysom was a founding partner and senior lawyer at the human rights law firm of Cheadle Thompson and Haysom Attorneys, and an Associate Professor of Law and Deputy Director at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits University in South Africa until May 1994, when he was appointed Legal Adviser to the President.
As an attorney of the South African High Court, he litigated in high-profile human rights cases between 1981 and 1993. He acted as a professional mediator in labour and community conflicts in South Africa between 1985 and 1993, and has advised on civil conflicts in Africa and Asia since 1998.
Mr. Haysom was closely involved in the constitutional negotiations leading up to the interim and final Constitutions in South Africa. He served as Chief Legal Adviser throughout Mr. Mandela’s presidency, and continued to work with Mr. Mandela on his private peace initiatives up to 2002.
Since leaving the office of the President upon Nelson Mandela’s retirement in 1999, Mr. Haysom has been involved in the Burundi Peace Talks as the Chairman of the committee negotiating constitutional issues (1999–2002). He continued to serve on the implementation committee of the Burundi Peace Accord after 2002.
He has served as a consultant on projects on constitutional reform, electoral reform, conflict resolution, good governance, federalism and democracy-strengthening in Lebanon, Nigeria, Indonesia, Philippines, East Timor, Sudan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Lesotho, Colombia, Congo, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nepal, Myanmar and Iraq.
Until his involvement in Iraq, he was most recently involved as the resource person to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) Sudanese Peace Agreement facilitation team. In this capacity, he helped draft and negotiate the initial ice-breaking Machakos Protocol and continued to assist in the negotiations on federal power-sharing, wealth-sharing and security arrangements.
Mr. Haysom was until 2006 a trustee of the international organization the Forum of Federations based in Ottawa and, amongst others, is a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. He has chaired or served as a member of panels of experts, including the United Nations Panel of Experts on Conflict Resolution.
Mr. Haysom has written on constitutional, human rights and related matters in various academic publications and is the co-author of Fundamental Rights in the Constitution: Commentary and Cases and South African Constitutional Law: the Bill of Rights. His most recent writing has been on conflict resolution and constitutional reform. He is regularly invited to address international conferences and workshops on comparative constitution-making experiences.
Mr. Haysom attended the universities of Natal and Cape Town, where he was Chairperson of the Student’s Representative Council and President of the National Union of South African Students (1976-1977). During the 1970s and 1980s Mr. Haysom was detained and held in incommunicado detention on three occasions, and served with a two-year “banning” (house arrest) order. He is a recipient of the South African Playwright of the Year award (1987). He was born on 21 April 1952.
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