Priscilla Yagu Ciesay

Co-Founder and Senior Technical Advisor of Women’s Association, Women & Victims’ Empowerment (WAVE-Gambia)
Priscilla Yagu Ciesay

I am Co-Founder and Senior Technical Advisor of Women’s Association for Women & Victims’ Empowerment (WAVE-Gambia). A human rights defender, advocate, and trainer, I possess a solid combination of practitioner-academic experience. My career has spanned over two decades across different fields of law and human rights, such as my work with asylum seekers and refugees and promoting religious freedoms in the UK.

Whilst serving with various United Nations (UN) missions and agencies since 2002, my UN assignments included postings in Addis Ababa, Afghanistan, Darfur, Kosovo, Liberia, South Sudan, Uganda and in UNHQ/New York working on Human Rights, Rule of Law, Gender, Women, Peace & Security, Transitional Justice, and Protection of Civilians. For four (4) consecutive years until March 2022, I was engaged as an Independent Expert and served as the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Human Rights Expert with the UN Panel of Experts on Sudan, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1591 (2005).

In 2018, I joined the Civil Society movement in The Gambia to work on a myriad of issues relating to Human and Women’s Rights, Gender, and Transitional Justice. I have been providing technical support to victims’ groups. In 2019, I co-founded (WAVE-Gambia) – Women’s Association for Women & Victims’ Empowerment, a women-led, women’s human rights organization where I also serve as the Senior Technical Advisor – this is a role I find totally fulfilling and worthy of every sacrifice! The organization is raising awareness, advocating for, and empowering victims and survivors (women and men) of human rights violations and atrocity crimes in their fight for justice, accountability, reconciliation, and reparations. WAVE prides itself in being the first organization to provide Expressive Arts Therapy to victims to aid trauma healing and coping mechanisms. I have held several Consultancy positions as Human Rights and Transitional Justice Specialist in The Gambia’s post-TRRC era including with UNDP-Gambia, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) and USAID’s Promoting Rights and Justice Program being implemented by Freedom House and the American Bar Association.

A UNOHCHR certified Human Rights Trainer, I facilitate various training courses on human rights, gender, and transitional justice to University and Secondary School students, the Gambia Armed Forces (with whom I am a designated Gender Consultant/Trainer), members of civil society organizations, women, youth, and community groups.


A member of the Bar in England and Wales, in 2000 I became a Barrister and Solicitor of The Gambia Supreme Court following my Call to the Gambian Bar. I hold a Bachelor of Laws Degree and obtained my Master of Laws Degree in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from King's College, London, and completed a PostGrad Diploma in Legal Education from The City Law School, City, University of London. I have since undertaken several professional courses including in the fields of human rights, international humanitarian law, gender/Women, Peace & Security, child protection and protection of civilians, rule of law and transitional justice.