EU highlights importance of village courts in CHT

UNB, Dhaka :
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Bangladesh Renjse Teerink on Wednesday underscored the importance of village courts for the marginalised groups of people in Chattogram Hill Tracts (CHT) to ensure the access to justice in quick and affordable manner.
She said, the 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.
The EU Ambassador made the remarks while addressing the launching ceremony of a project ‘Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh (AVCB) Phase -II’ in Rangamati to improve the access to justice for disadvantaged and marginalised groups of people in the CHT.
The Local Government Division with support from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Porgramme (UNDP) on Wednesday 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 GoB, 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, UNDP said on Wednesday.
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.
Mesbahul Islam, Secretary of the Ministry of Chattogram Hill Tracts Affairs addressed the launching 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.
“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 and now also in CHT,” he said.
Sudipto opined that the project would further strengthen the peace and security of the region.