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Bangladeshi Lawyer Wins Goldman Environmental Prize


Rizwana Hasan is a lawyer and Executive Director of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), a public interest law firm. She is the first Bangladeshi recipient of Goldman Environmental Prize for her contribution in getting Bangladesh Government to enforce stricter regulations on ship breaking.

Ms Hasan began her advocacy on behalf of the workers. In 2003, she filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking an order to prevent aging ships from entering Bangladesh unless they were certified to be free of toxic substances as required by the Basel Convention, and to prohibit further ship breaking activities unless the relevant government agencies enacted and enforced standards for protection of the environment and workers.

In January 2008, the Supreme Court called upon government agencies, including shipping, commerce, environment, industry and labor, to showcause why appropriate safety and labor welfare measures as required under the Factories Act shall not be enforced.

In March 2009, the Supreme Court imposed tight regulations on the industry. It directed the closure of all 36 ship breaking yards operating without environmental clearance.

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