Receiving her award in 2016
|Alma mater||University 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. 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. 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.[page needed]
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. 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. Currently, Hossain is a partner in the law firm Dr. Kamal Hossain and Associates.
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.
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.
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." Hossain was also named "Young Global Leader" by the World Economic Forum in 2008 and as "Asia 21 Fellow" by The Asia Society, New York, USA in 2007. 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).
The Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: On the Difficult Road to Peace (2003)