Syeda Rizwana Hasan is an enrolled lawyer with the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. She is the Chief Executive of a reputed national Non Governmental Organization named Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA). Her main focus is to promote the notion of environmental justice in Bangladesh. An environmental lawyer, Rizwana has led successful legal campaigns through PIL and legislative advocacy on almost all major environmental problems of Bangladesh.
Rizwana did her masters and graduation in law from the University of Dhaka with distinction. She is a visiting faculty in the University of Asia Pacific, State University and Eastern University.
Rizwana is the Chairperson of RDRS, a leading Bangladeshi NGO. She is a member of other NGOs including FIVDB, Nijera Kori, Association of Land Reforms and Development (ALRD), Ecologically Critical Area (ECA) and Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC). Rizwana serves as a member of various committees formed by the government on environmental issues.
At the international arena, Rizwana is an amigas (a member of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide) and also a member of the Environmental Law Commission of IUCN. She is a board member of South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE). Her organization is member of the NGO Platform on Ship Breaking, IUCN, South Asian Watch on Trade, Environment and Economics and Friends of the Earth International.
BELA, the organization that Rizwana runs has received the Global 500 Roll of Honors of the UNEP in the year 2003. BELA has won the Environmental Award (given for the first time that year) in 2007 given by the Department of Environment for popularizing environmental law. The organization has also been awarded with M. Saleem Ullah Memorial Gold Medal 2009 as a token of recognition of it’s service tot he people in providing effective leadership for the preservation and sustenance of the environment.
Rizwana has received the ‘Annanya Top Ten Award’ given by a reputed journal of Bangladesh. She is also amongst the first five South Asian women to receive the ‘Celebrating Womenhood’ award (2008) given by the Creative Statement and South Asia Partnership based in Nepal. Rizwana has received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for the year 2009 for her outstanding contribution in protecting and conserving the environment of the country. She has also been named as one of the 40 Environmental Heroes of the World by the TIME magazine. Recognizing her impassioned leadership, hard-driving skill, and uncompromising courage in the campaign of judicial activism that has demonstrated that the right to environment is nothing less than a people’s right to dignity and life, Rizwana has been awarded with the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2012.