Syeda Rizwana Hasan (Bengali: সৈয়দা রিজওয়ানা হাসান; born 15 January 1968) is a Bangladeshi attorney and environmentalist. She has particularly focused on regulations for the shipbreaking industry in Bangladesh, and was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2009.[1] She was also awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2012 for her "uncompromising courage and impassioned leadership in a campaign of judicial activism in Bangladesh that affirms the people's right to a good environment as nothing less than their right to dignity and life."[2]

Rizwana Hasan
সৈয়দা রিজওয়ানা হাসান
Syeda Rizwana Hasan

(1968-01-15) 15 January 1968 (age 56)
Alma materUniversity of Dhaka
Years active1993–present
Known forContributions in shipbreaking industry
ChildrenNehla Siddique, Ahmed Zarir Siddique, Ahmed Zeedan Siddique

Early life and education


Syeda Rizwana Hasan was born on 15 January 1968, into a Bengali Muslim family in Habiganj District, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). She attended Viqarunnisa Noon School and College for her secondary education and Holy Cross College for her higher secondary education, before attending Dhaka University for her bachelor's and master's degree in law.[3]



Hasan got involved in the shipbreaking industry, first suing the breaking yards in Chittagong in 2003 for, among other reasons, bringing health hazards to the workers, poor working conditions, and improper waste disposal. In response, in March 2003 the court declared shipbreaking without an environmental clearance from the appropriate department illegal.[3] Hasan continues to strive for more labour rights and a safer working environment in the industry.[4] She has also successfully sued organizations involved in filling lakes to build real estate, the improper use of polythene, hill cutting, deforestation, shrimp farming, and building illegal establishments on St. Martin's Island.[3]



Under Hasan's leadership, BELA won the Global 500 Roll of Honor in 2003 by the United Nations Environment Program.[5] She herself won:[3][5][6]

She has also been dubbed as a Hero of Environment by the American news magazine TIME.[3][4][7]

In 2022, Hasan received the International Women of Courage Award from the United States Department of State.[8]

Personal life


Hasan was born in Habiganj to the parents Syed Mahibul Hasan and Suraiya Hasan.[3] She married her classmate lawyer-entrepreneur Abu Bakar Siddique, and has a daughter, Nehla Siddique and two sons, Ahmed Zarir Siddique and Ahmed Zeedan Siddique.[6] In April 2014, her husband Siddique, managing director of a garment factory owned by Nasrul Hamid Bipu, was briefly abducted by unknown individuals.[9][10]

Selected works

  • Laws & decision on compensation in Bangladesh, 2001
  • Judicial decisions on environment in South Asia : up to 2000, 2005
  • Judicial decisions on environment in South Asia, 2001-2004, 2006
  • Supreme Court on wetland conservation, 2014


  1. ^ a b "Syeda Rizwana Hasan". Goldman Environmental Prize. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
  2. ^ a b Sarmiento, Christine Joy (26 July 2012). "2012 Ramon Magsaysay Award winners announced". Asian Journal. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012. Syeda Rizwana Hasan, from Bangladesh, is being recognized for 'her uncompromising courage and impassioned leadership in a campaign of judicial activism in Bangladesh that affirms the people's right to a good environment as nothing less than their right to dignity and life.'
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Belar Shonge Rizwana". Dainik Kaler Kontho. 21 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Time names Rizwana as environment hero". The Daily Star. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  5. ^ a b Choudhury, Shahidul (18 February 2010). "Syeda Rizwana Hasan, defender of environment". New Age. Archived from the original on 23 February 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  6. ^ a b Iqbal Choudhury (2009). Chhutir Dine (in Bengali) (509 ed.). Prothom Alo. p. 5.
  7. ^ "Syeda Rizwana Hasan". Time. 22 September 2009. Archived from the original on 1 October 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2009.
  8. ^ "2022 International Women of Courage Award". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  9. ^ "Abductors free Abu Bakar". The Daily Star. 18 April 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  10. ^ "Abduction of Mr. Abu Bakar Siddique, the husband of Ms. Syeda Rizwana…". OMCT. Retrieved 22 December 2021.