Barrister, Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Sara Hossain is a barrister practicing in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, mainly in the areas of constitutional, public interest and family law. She is a partner at the law firm of Dr. Kamal Hossain and Associates (www.khossain.com), and currently serves pro bono as the Honorary Executive Director of the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (www.blast.org.bd). She is a member of Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), the Human Rights Committee of the International Law Association (ILA), the Advisory Committee of the Women’s International Coalition on Gender Justice (WICG) and a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).
Sara earlier ran the South Asia Programme at INTERIGHTS from 1997 to 2003, and was a founding board member of the South Asia Women’s Fund (SAWF).
Sara’s casework on women’s rights has included public interest litigation before the Supreme Court of Bangladesh challenging ‘fatwa’ violence (degrading punishments being imposed on women and girls accused of violating community norms on sexuality), ‘forced veiling’ and the use of the ‘two finger test’ as a form of medical evidence collection; and amicus/ third party briefs for constitutional litigation before the Supreme Court of Nepal in a case challenging marital rape as discrimination, and before the European Court of Human Rights challenging the requirement of proof of force to establish rape (MC v Bulgaria)
Sara writes and speaks on public interest law, human rights and women’s rights and access to justice. Her publications include "Confronting Constitutional Curtailments: Attempts to Rebuild Independence of the Judiciary in Bangladesh," in Paul Brass (ed) Handbook of Politics in South Asia (Routledge, 2010), ‘Wayward Girls and Well-Wisher Parents: Habeas Corpus, Women’s Rights to Consent and the Bangladesh Courts” in Aisha Gill (ed) Forced Marriage (Zed, London 2010); (with Bina de Costa) “Redress for Sexual Violence Before the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh: Lessons from History, and Hopes for the Future” in Criminal Law Forum, Volume 21, Number 2, 331-359; (Co-edited with Lynn Welchman) “Honour”: Crimes, Paradigms and Violence against Women (Zed Books, London, 2005), and (co-edited with Dina M. Siddiqi) Human Rights in Bangladesh 2007 (ASK, Dhaka, 2008).
Sara was educated at Wadham College, Oxford (MA (Hons) 1988), called to the Bar from Middle Temple (1989), enrolled in the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh (1992) and then in the Appellate Division in 2008. She has received awards from the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First), and Ananya, and been selected as a World Economic Forum Fellow and an Asia 21 Fellow.