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7 million get justice under Village Court project

DHAKA, April 09, 2017 (BSS) - About 7 million people got justice through local arbitrations in last seven years under the 'Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh' project.

This was disclosed at a meeting in a city hotel on the achievements of the project that commenced in 2009.

Secretary of LGRD Division Abdul Malek addressed the meeting as chief guest while AVCB Project Director Ikramul Haque was in the chair.

Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Bangladesh Mario Ronconi and UNDP Bangladesh Country Director Sudipto Mukerjee addressed the meeting.

Malek said the success of the AVCB project in the last seven years provided access to justice to over 7 million people mainly in rural areas.

"The Bangladesh government aims to bring public services at people's doorsteps. Village Courts is one of the services that can improve lives, bringing peace and harmony in the rural areas of the country," he added.

Mario Ronconi said, "The EU continues its commitment to strengthen social justice and to ensure that more people throughout Bangladesh, especially the rural poor women and children, can access to justice and have the possibility to find a solution to their disputes and conflicts at community level."

Sudipto Mukerjee said the Bangladesh government shows a high-level of commitment to improve access to justice for all people, and in partnership with the European Union and UNDP, this will be possible to achieve.

He said the new scaled-up phase of the Village Courts project will bring improved access to legal services to over 21 million mainly people living in poverty and rural areas in 1,080 unions in 128 upazilas under 27 districts in all eight divisions, including the Chittagong Hill Tracts area.

The meeting also informed that so far 4,914 Union Parishad representatives and officials and 3,529 village police members have been trained to support the Village Courts.

In the first six years of the project, 69,200 disputes have been successfully resolved out of 87,200 reported to the Village Courts, and over 6,000 cases have been referred to Village Courts by the District Courts.

Most importantly, each case had been resolved in average within 28 days, what used to take more than 2-3 years for petty cases of both civil and criminal nature.

Also, in total BDT 29.3 crore (USD 3.79 million) have been recovered as compensation that is being determined by the village courts panel to resolve the disputes.

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