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 Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan

Nicholas "Fink" Haysom was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in October 2014. At the time of his appointment Mr. Haysom was serving as Deputy Special Representative (Political) of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, a position he had held since 2012. He was previously Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General between 2007 and 2012. From April 2005 to mid-2007 he was the head of the Office of Constitutional Support in the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Prior to his UN appointment in Baghdad, he worked on constitutional reform, electoral reform, conflict resolution, good governance, and democracy-strengthening in several countries in Africa and Asia. Most notably Mr. Haysom was involved in the Burundi Peace Talks as the chairman of the committee negotiating constitutional issues (1999-2002) and served as the principal adviser to the Mediator in the Sudanese Peace Process (2002-2005).

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 until 1999 and continued to work with Mr. Mandela on his private peace initiatives up to 2002.

Mr. Haysom was a founding partner of a human rights law firm, and an Associate Professor of Law until he joined Mr. Mandela’s office in May 1994. As an attorney of the South African High Court, he litigated 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.

Mr. Haysom has served as a trustee of, amongst others, the international organisation the Forum of Federations and 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. His most recent writing has been on peace processes, conflict resolution and constitutional reform. He is regularly invited to address international conferences and workshops on peace negotiations, and comparative constitution-making experiences.

Mr. Haysom is a graduate of the Universities of Natal and of Cape Town, where he was Chairperson of the Student's Representative Council and President of the National Union of South African Students. In 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Cape Town. During the 1970s and 1980s Mr. Haysom was 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. He is married with five children. 

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