LGRD minister Md Tazul Islam has said that the government is mulling over bringing village court under revenue sector permanently to make the initiative more effective. He further said that if the village court continues to run under project, it will face gradually increasing difficulties to ensure justice for the marginal people.
The LGRD minister said this at the launching of ‘Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh (AVCB) Phase –II’ at a city hotel in the capital on Sunday. The programme was jointly organized by the Local Government Division, European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The minister further said the government is working to bring all government services to doorstep of people.
The village court is one of them that can improve lives and ensure peace and harmony in the rural areas, he added. “The project will also strengthen the local government bodies in Chittagong Hill Tracts area making them more responsive to local needs and establish peaceful co-existence,” he said. EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Renjse Teerink underscored the importance of village courts for the marginalized groups of people in CHT to ensure the access to justice in quick and affordable manner.
“European Union is always committed to strengthen social justice in Bangladesh so that, the vulnerable community especially rural poor women, can access to justice and have the possibility to find a solution to their disputes and conflicts at community level,” she added. Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh, said without development there is no peace and without peace there is no justice.
He said that access to justice for all therefore is a must to ensure human rights and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, leaving no one behind. Village courts are playing a vital role to ensure the access to justice to the poor people in 1080 unions of Bangladesh. The project will further strengthen the peace and security of the region, he added.
After successful implementation of phase -I from 2006-2015, phase-II of the AVCB project started in 2016 in 1,080 unions, under a tri-partnership with EU, UNDP and Government, for creating wider access to dispute resolutions services for the rural poor people. The project is now further scaled up to CHT with additional 4.5 million Euro funding from EU to make local authorities more responsive to local justice needs and offer legal services. It will also empower local people, especially women and vulnerable people.
With this additional 4.5 million Euro, the total EU contribution to AVCB II project stands at 28.3 million Euro. Roxana Quader, National Project Director, chaired the programme while Md Helal Uddin Ahmed, secretary, Local Government Division, Tanvir Azam Siddiquee, deputy secretary, local government division and Sarder M Asaduzzaman, national project coordinator, among others, attended the programme.