Nicholas Haysom was awarded an honorary doctorate in law. He has devoted his life to public service and the vindication of human rights, both in South Africa and internationally, particularly in Africa. He graduated with a BA Hons in 1975 from the University of Natal and an LLB from UCT in 1978.
He was admitted as an attorney in 1981 and joined the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the University of Witwatersrand – a pioneer institute engaged in academic research and education, but also in bringing precedent-setting cases in human rights. He published important research into the legal rights of farmworkers and the violence employed by the security forces during the states of emergency. He was detained on several occasions and banned.
In 2005 Haysom joined the United Nations to head its Constitutional Support Unit in Iraq, and in 2007 he was appointed political director in the Office of the Secretary-General. He has advised missions on conflict in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and advised on constitutional processes in Tunisia. He continues to lecture and write on issues relating to conflict resolution and constitution making, of which he is now regarded internationally as a leading expert.
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The university has bestowed high academic honours in the form of degrees awarded honoris causa on the following distinguished men and women.