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EU highlights importance of village courts in CHT

  • Published at 05:24 pm September 25th, 2019
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Representational Photo: Bigstock

EU said the village courts are essential to facilitate quick and affordable access to justice

European Union (EU) Ambassador to Bangladesh Renjse Teerinkon has underscored the importance of village courts for the marginalized groups of people in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

The EU ambassador made the remarks while addressing the launching ceremony of a project titled "Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh (AVCB) Phase -II" in Rangamati on Wednesday.

She said the village courts are essential in facilitating quick and affordable access to justice for disadvantaged and marginalized groups of people in the hill tracts.

The ambassador said the European Union is always committed to strengthening social justice in Bangladesh so that the vulnerable community, especially rural poor women can have access to justice and have the possibility to find a solution to their disputes and conflicts at the community level. 

Following 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 of Bangladesh, 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 funding from EU to make local authorities more responsive to local justice needs and offer legal services, UNDP said.

The EU  Ambassador to Bangladesh Renjse Teerinkon, secretary of the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs  Mesbahul Islam and other guests addresses the launching ceremony of a project titled "Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh (AVCB) Phase -II" in Rangamati on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 Courtesy It will also empower local people, especially women and vulnerable people. With this additional €4.5 million, the total EU contribution to AVCB II project stands at €28.3 million. 

Mesbahul Islam, secretary of the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs addressed the event as the chief guest. 

He said the government is keen to bring public services to people's doorsteps. "The village court is one of them that can improve lives and ensure peace and harmony in the rural areas, like CHT." 

He also said the project will also strengthen the local government bodies in CHT, making them more responsive to local needs and establish peaceful co-existence. 

Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh Sudipto Mukerjee said without development there is no peace and without peace there is no justice. 

He said: "Access to justice for all therefore is a must to ensure human rights and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, leaving no one behind.

"Village courts are playing a vital role to ensure the access to justice to the poor people in 1,080 unions of Bangladesh and now also in CHT." 

Sudipto opined that the project would further strengthen the peace and security of the region. 

Among others, Roxana Quader, national project director, AVCBII and additional secretary, LGD, and Van Nguyen, deputy resident representative, UNDP Bangladesh also spoke at the event. 

Earlier, Mohammad Tanvir Azam Siddique, deputy secretary, LGD, and Sarder Asaduzzaman, national project coordinator, AVCB II presented the keynote paper on "Strengthening Traditional Justice System in the CHT."

The event was also attended by Hill District Councils and representatives of CHT Regional Council. 

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