‘Can I Get a Witness’: evidentiary and procedural issues that delay the administration of justice in Bangladesh

25 Nov 2015

"Justice delayed is justice denied” – William E. Gladstone The effective delivery of justice in any given system requires the smooth-functioning of courts and the competent management of cases by all actors involved. A weak link in this justice chain could very easily cause fragmentation of the entire system, leading to low confidence in the formal justice system and injustice. The dire state of affairs has arguably been reached in Bangladesh where the disposal time can extend to 10 years in land cases and litigants lose an average daily income of USD 5.4 (Tk. 428) needlessly attending court through an average of 60 adjournments; it is estimated that the average litigants spends an average of USD 1500 pursuing a case through the formal system which dramatically impacts the accessibility of this system given  almost half the population (43.3%) continue to live below USD 1.25 a day. The UNDP has been working to address some of these problems through projects supported by the Supreme Court to try and address the case backlog which is estimated at 2.86 million, and has partnered with the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to try and foster greater communication, cooperation, and coordination amongst justice system … Read more

Sisters Doin' It for Themselves

01 Nov 2015

The women of the Berra Women’s Community Policing Forum. Photo - UNDPThe women of the Berra Women’s Community Policing Forum. Photo - UNDP
The challenges in increasing access to justice for women in Bangladesh can seem daunting. In all spheres of contemporary Bangladeshi life, women still face discrimination, exclusion, and injustice and have negligible influence in decision-making processes. Their inferior status can be traced to the patriarchal values entrenched in society, which keep women subjugated, assigns them a subordinate and dependent role, and, prevents them from accessing power and resources. Men hold the power and resources within families and control most of the property and family income. Women are still often considered as men’s property, with their sexual activity, income and labour being systematically controlled by the men in their family. Although women are increasingly joining the workforce (particularly in areas such as garment production), social expectations of women still pivot around child rearing and household management. Widespread violence against women also contributes to their social vulnerability and prevents them from fully participating in society; it has been reported that 87 per cent of currently married women have experienced physical violence by their current husband and more than 40 per cent of women on average indicated that they had first forced sex at age 14 and below by non-partners.  In spite of these alarming … Read more

Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All

21 Sep 2015

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on the 21 September. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All” which aims to highlight the importance of all segments of society to work together to strive for harmony – whether it be government, private sector or civil society groups – peace and development that leaves no-one behind. Bangladesh has been a stand out performer not just in economic growth but in poverty alleviation too.  Growth is steady at 6.25% and at the same time poverty has fallen from 56.7 percent in 1991-92 to 31.5 percent in 2010.  The under-five mortality rate has been reduced, significant progress has been made in attaining gender parity at primary and secondary schools, and remarkable improvements have been made in the areas of poverty reduction. This was reflected in a 2010 Household Income and Expenditure Survey indicated that incidences of poverty are declining at a rate of 2.47 percent per year since 1991/92.  But the growth and progress seen across … Read more

Celebration of International Youth Day

12 Aug 2015

Drishty Chittagong won the International Youth Day debate by effectively arguing that good governance and strong implementation of policies must accompany employment opportunities in order to address issues such as drug use by youth.
Wednesday August 12th marked the annual celebration of International Youth Day. This year’s theme of “civic engagement” was spot on for the UNDP’s pilot project, Youth Empowerment for Development (YED). Over the past six months, UNDP has been testing approaches to encourage young people’s engagement with policy and decision makers starting with strengthening and amplifying youth voices. Centering around “civic engagement”, IYD activities in Chittagong included a youth fair, which highlighted opportunities for young people, a debate on youth unemployment and a dialogue with councilors from Chittagong City Corporation (CCC). Building on the success of the CCC election dialogue, the dialogue offered a rare opportunity for young people to directly interact with elected councilors from CCC.  It was very clear that young people have a strong desire to play a greater role in the running of the CCC and very much wanted to be part of the solution to many challenges the city faces such as the preservation of Chittagong’s remaining hills, traffic congestion and waterlogging. Furthermore, youth asked after the plans CCC had to incorporate the concerns and needs of street children, the hijra community and differently abled residents, including those with vision impairments. As Pauline Tamesis, UNDP Country Director, … Read more

Transforming towards digitalization of Bangladesh Judiciary

09 Jul 2015

Releasing of Timely Justice for All in Bangladesh-Business Process Mapping Publication by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Bangladesh in the workshop.
A well-functioning judiciary is a crucial determinant of a country's economic performance. It promotes efficient production and distribution of goods and services by securing, among other things, the enforcement of contracts. Conversely, weak contract enforcement could lead firms adopting inefficient technologies (for example those that minimise dependence on other firms), with detrimental effects on productivity. It is widely understood that a judiciary effective in enforcing the rule of law would not only be conducive to trade, financing and investment but would also promote social peace and trust. However, judicial systems, particularly in developing countries, continue to suffer from inefficiencies that have a negative impact on socio-economic well-being. Commonly faced lacunae in judicial performance include (a) length of time it takes for cases to be disposed; (b) uncertainty in the progress of judicial proceedings; and (c) difficulty for the common man to access judicial services, particularly related to the cases she/he is concerned with or is a party to. In this backdrop caseflow management as an approach to keep track of cases and ensure their smooth passage through allocation of most appropriate time and resources forms the very backbone of the judicial system. Caseflow management techniques are now widely adopted as a … Read more