Established in 1992, BELA is dedicated to promoting environmental justice and developing sound environmental jurisprudence in Bangladesh
The Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) has won the 2020 Tang Prize for their significant contributions to the rule of law.
The NGO shared the prestigious award with two other NGOs - Colombia-based Dejusticia, and Lebanon-based The Legal Agenda, said a media statement.
The NGOs were awarded "for their efforts in furthering the rule of law and its institutions through education and advocacy," stated the award citation released by the Tang Prize Foundation.
Established in 1992, BELA is dedicated to promoting environmental justice and developing sound environmental jurisprudence in Bangladesh, the committee said in a statement.
It promotes the rule of law and environmental justice through public interest litigation, advocacy, research and publication, as well as capacity-building for actors in the public sector and civil society, the statement said.
BELA has initiated more than 250 public interest lawsuits and advocated for legislative reform on environmental justice.
The NGO has covered various issues, including river pollution, industrial pollution, vehicular pollution, illegal construction, labor welfare, illegal mining, wetlands protection, prevention of soil erosion, reduction of plastic use, and prevention of ship pollution, said the committee.
In 2003, the organization was named to the Global 500 Roll of Honor under the United Nations Environment Program for generating broader awareness of environmental law and sensitizing the notion of environmental justice.
In 2009, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, the association's chief executive, was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her public interest work in environmental conservation.
The Tang Prize, also known as the "Asian Nobel prize," was established by Taiwanese businessman and philanthropist Samuel Yin, chairman of the Ruentex Group, and first awarded in 2014.
The Tang Prize is held every two years, awarding high achievers in four fields - sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, Sinology, and rule of law.
The three organizations will share a cash award of $1.35 million and a research grant of $0.34 million.