DHAKA and NEW DELHI, Mar 15 (IPS) – In an exclusive interview given to IPS UN Bureau, journalist Sania Farooqui is in conversation with Bangladeshi lawyer, Rizwana Hasan who was recently awarded the 16th Annual International Women of Courage Awards by the U.S Department of State. Hasan works primarily to protect the environment and defend the dignity and rights of marginalized Bangladeshis. Through landmark legal cases over the past 20 years, Hasan has changed the dynamics of development in Bangladesh to include a people-centered focus on environmental justice.
In her capacity as Chief Executive of the public interest law firm Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, she has argued and won monumental cases against deforestation, pollution, unregulated ship breaking, and illegal land development. In 2009, Hasan was named as one of 40 Environmental Heroes of the World by TIME magazine and was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2012 for her activism. In the years since, she has continued her crucial work in the courtroom to combat environmental degradation and the local effects of climate change, despite significant resistance from powerful interests and threats of violence to herself and her family.
In this interview, Rizwana Hasan and Sania Farooqui touch upon various topics, including winning the International Women of Courage Awards, growing up in a patriarchal society to changes in the attitude towards women professionals, Hasan’s personal journey and challenges, what it took to become a lawyer and an environmentalist, and lastly impact of climate change, especially on marginalized communities.
IPS UN Bureau Report
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