Sara Hossain
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Sara Hossain
Sara Hossain
Sara Hossain of Bangladesh (25512035014).jpg
Receiving her award in 2016
Alma materUniversity of Oxford
University of London

Sara Hossain is a Bangladeshi lawyer who works as a barrister at the bar of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and an honorary executive director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST). She was one of the recipients of the 2016 International Women of Courage Award awarded by the United States Secretary of State.[1] Hossain played a key role in drafting Bangladesh's first comprehensive legislation on violence against women, which went on to become law in 2010. She is known for her role in challenging fatwa violence, where fatwas are issued to mete out degrading and violent punishments to women and girls.[2] She also opposed the two-finger test in rape and sexual assault cases, and forced veiling. Hossain co-edited 'Honour': Crimes, Paradigms and Violence Against Women with Lynn Welchman.[3][page needed]

Education and work

Hossain got a Bachelor of Art (Hons) in Law (Jurisprudence) from University of Oxford in 1988. She was then called to the Bar at Middle Temple.[4] She enrolled in the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh in 1992 and went on to Appellate Division in 2008. Hossain also worked as a Legal Officer with INTERIGHTS for the South Asia division from 1997 to 2003. She was involved in supporting human rights litigation before national and international courts including the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Committee on the use of international and comparative human rights law. She also worked on a multi-country study on honour crimes with the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law at SOAS.[5] Currently, Hossain is a partner in the law firm Dr. Kamal Hossain and Associates.[4]

In July 2018, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Hossain to co-chair (alongside David Crane and Kaari Betty Murungi) a three-person Commission of Inquiry into the killing of at least 140 Palestinians by the Israeli army.[6]


Apart from BLAST, Hossain is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Dhaka-based human rights organisation Ain-O-Salish Kendra. Formerly, she was a board member of the South Asia Women's Fund (SAWF). Hossain has also served as a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). She is currently a member of the Human Rights Committee of the International Law Association (ILA) and the Advisory Committee of the Women's International Coalition on Gender Justice (WICG), Hossain is a well-known figure in the international human rights arena.

Awards and achievements

In 2016, Hossain was awarded the International Women of Courage Award by US Secretary of State, John Kerry for "empowering women and girls and for giving voice to the voiceless in Bangladesh through your relentless legal advocacy."[7] Hossain was also named "Young Global Leader" by the World Economic Forum in 2008[8] and as "Asia 21 Fellow" by The Asia Society, New York, USA in 2007.[9] She received the Ananya Top Ten Leading Women Award in 2005 as well as the Human Rights Lawyer Award by The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First).


Books and reports

  • Handbook on Legal Remedies for Forced Marriage (2014)
  • Bangladesh UPR Forum's Submission to the Human Rights Council[10] (2009)
  • Human Rights in Bangladesh (2006-08)
  • 'Honour': Crimes Paradigms and Violence against Women[11] with Lynn Welchman (2005)
  • Rights in Search of Remedies: Public Interest Litigation in South Asia[12] with Shahdeen Malik and Bushra Musa (1996)

The Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: On the Difficult Road to Peace (2003)


  • 'Wayward Girls and Well Wisher Parents: Habeas Corpus, Women's Rights and the Bangladesh Courts', in Forced Marriage (2010)
  • 'Confronting Constitutional Curtailments: Attempts to Rebuild Independence of the Judiciary in Bangladesh' in Handbook of Politics in South Asia (2010)
  • 'South Asia' with Iain Byrne in Social Rights Jurisprudence: Emerging Trends in International and Comparative Law (2008)
  • 'The Right to Marry' in Men's Laws, Women's Lives (2005)
  • 'Apostates, Ahmadis and Advocates : Uses and Abuses of Offences against Religion' in Warning Signs of Fundamentalism (2004-5)
  • 'Abduction and Forced Marriage: Rights and Remedies in Bangladesh and Pakistan' with Suzanne E. Turner, in International Family Law (2001)
  • 'Women's Reproductive Rights and the Politics of Fundamentalism: A View From Bangladesh' with Sajeda Amin, American University Law Review (1995)
  • 'Equality and Personal Laws in South Asia' in Human Rights of Women: National and International Perspectives (1994)


  1. ^ "Sara Hossain wins 'Int'l Women of Courage Award'". 29 March 2016.
  2. ^ Fatwa Barrister Sara Hossain, The Guardian, Retrieved 2016
  3. ^ Hossain, Sara; Welchman, Lynn (2005). 'Honour': Crimes, Paradigms and Violence Against Women. Zed Books. ISBN 978-1-84277-627-8.
  4. ^ a b Administrator. "Sara Hossain".
  5. ^ "About The Honour Crimes Project: CIMEL: SOAS".
  6. ^ Tom Miles (25 July 2018), U.N. picks American to lead investigation into Gaza protest killings Reuters.
  7. ^ "The page you're looking for may have been moved or renamed".
  8. ^ "World Economic Forum - Home" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Asia 21 Fellows, Class of 2008".
  10. ^ Hossain, Sara (2009-01-01). Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Bangladesh: Compilation of Reports. Human Rights Forum on Universal Periodic Review, Bangladesh.
  11. ^ Hossain, Sara; Welchman, Lynn (2005-12-02). 'Honour': Crimes, Paradigms and Violence Against Women. Zed Books. ISBN 9781842776278.
  12. ^ Hossain, Sara; Malik, Shahdeen; Musa, Bushra (1997-01-01). Public Interest Litigation in South Asia: Rights in Search of Remedies. University Press. ISBN 9789840513918.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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