Abdul Tejan-Cole is Senior Campaign Director, focused on ending deforestation in Africa across all industrial agriculture and on fighting for the rights of workers and communities. A noted human rights lawyer and activist, he has over 25 years of experience fomenting progressive development of human rights, anti-corruption, environmental and social justice, post-conflict reconstruction, transitional justice and the rule of law.
As head of the Anti-Corruption Commission of Sierra Leone, he worked on and prosecuted a number of high-level corruption cases and prioritized fighting corruption especially in the fishing and maritime sector in Sierra Leone.
Prior to joining Waxman, he also served as Deputy Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice’s Cape Town office, and as Executive Director of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa. Abdul has worked with, founded, and been on the board of a number of organizations that work on a broad range of environmental issues including land tenure, land grabbing and food security and climate change. He was Board Chair of West Africa Democracy Radio and Timap for Justice.
He is a strong advocate for the prosecution of the destruction of the environment, the illegal exploitation of natural resources or the illegal dispossession of land as a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute. He served as Secretary General, Vice President, and President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, as well as president of the West Africa Bar Association. Abdul was a war crimes prosecutor in the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
He taught land law and the environment at the University of Sierra Leone and holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) Degree from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, a Master of Laws from University College London and a post-graduate diploma in International Trade Law from the University Institute of European Studies. He was a Human Rights Teaching Fellow at Columbia University in New York, is a Yale World Fellow, was a recipient of the 2001 Human Rights Watch Annual Award and is a member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability. He has published widely on human rights and international justice issues.
Abdul played cricket at school, university and at the national level and sponsored a junior cricket team in Sierra Leone.