Perception is Reality: Public Impressions of the Justice System in Bangladesh

31 Mar 2015

Community education sessions like those organized by the Village Courts Project assist in improving public perception of the justice system.
“Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done." Gordon Hewart, 1st Viscount Hewart, PC In Bangladesh, a country where the backlog of court cases waiting to be heard is estimated to be over two million and a single land case can take a decade to be resolved, there are plenty of objective indicators that the justice system is not meeting the needs of the vast majority of Bangladeshis. While quantitative data like these indicators is helpful in measuring the success of justice sector institutions, it does not provide any clear path towards lessening citizens’ distrust of or dissatisfaction with the justice system. A recent Situational Analysis study conducted by the UNDP’s Access to Justice (A2J) project combined quantitative and qualitative methods to measure the satisfaction level of citizens with the justice system in Bangladesh. By using both subjective and objective indicators, the A2J Analysis assists in identifying the symptoms of subjective dissatisfaction that, when addressed, could contribute to resolving some of the systemic issues currently plaguing the justice sector in Bangladesh. Perception surveys, aimed at discovering opinions rather than facts, are often used in market research to measure customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. The qualitative … Read more

এইমস ওয়েব পোর্টাল- কার্যকর উন্নয়ন সহযোগিতার পথে বাংলাদেশের আরেক ধাপ

23 Mar 2015

বাংলাদেশের সার্বিক উন্নয়ন প্রক্রিয়ায় বৈদেশিক সহায়তার ভূমিকা অত্যন্ত গুরুত্বপূর্ণ। যদিও, সাম্প্রতিক দশকগুলোতে বৈদেশিক সহায়তার উপর আমাদের নির্ভরশীলতা অনেক কমে এসেছে, তা সত্ত্বেও এখনও পর্যন্ত বাংলাদেশের বার্ষিক উন্নয়ন কর্মসূচির প্রায় এক তৃতীয়াংশের সংস্থান করা হয় বৈদেশিক অর্থ সহায়তার মাধ্যমে- যার মধ্যে রয়েছে বিভিন্ন দেশ ও আন্তর্জাতিক উন্নয়ন সহযোগিতা সংস্থা হতে প্রাপ্ত ঋণ সহায়তা, অনুদান, কারিগরি সহায়তা ইত্যাদি। তথ্যের এই অবাধ প্রবাহের যুগে উন্নয়ন সহযোগিতাকে কার্যকর করবার অন্যতম পূর্বশর্ত হচ্ছে উন্নয়ন সহায়তা প্রাপ্তি ও ছাড় প্রক্রিয়াকে অধিকতর স্বচ্ছ ও জবাবদিহিতামূলক করা। আর এই স্বচ্ছতা ও জবাবদিহিতা তখনি পালন করা সম্ভব যখন অনলাইনের মাধ্যমে সর্বসাধারণের মধ্যে এতদসংক্রান্ত তথ্যাবলীর দ্রুত ও অবাধ প্রাপ্তি নিশ্চিত করা হয়। এরই পরিপ্রেক্ষিতে সম্প্রতি বাংলাদেশ সরকারের অর্থনৈতিক সম্পর্ক বিভাগের আওতায় বাস্তবায়নাধীন ইউ.এন.ডি.পি. সহায়তাপুষ্ট “Strengthening Capacity for Aid Effectiveness in Bangladesh” শীর্ষক প্রকল্পের মাধ্যমে একটি ওয়েব পোর্টাল বা তথ্য বাতায়ন-- Bangladesh Aid Information Management System  (বাংলাদেশ এইড ইনফরমেশন ম্যানেজমেন্ট সিস্টেম) বা Bangladesh AIMS (বাংলাদেশ এইমস- http://aims.erd.gov.bd) চালু করা হয়েছে। এইড ইনফরমেশন ম্যানেজমেন্ট সিস্টেম বা এইমস হচ্ছে এমন একটি ওয়েবভিত্তিক সফটওয়্যার যার মাধ্যমে বিদেশ থেকে আসা উন্নয়ন সাহায্য সম্পর্কিত যাবতীয় তথ্য ও উপাত্তসমূহ অনলাইনে একটি নির্দিষ্ট ওয়েবসাইটে রক্ষণাবেক্ষণ ও প্রয়োজনমত ব্যবহার করা সম্ভব। এইমস চালু হবার ফলে বাংলাদেশে আসা বৈদেশিক সাহায্যের পরিমাণ ও ব্যবহার সংক্রান্ত তথ্য ও উপাত্তসমূহ এইমস ওয়েবসাইট (http://aims.erd.gov.bd) থেকে … Read more

'Result matters, isn’t it!'- World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015

17 Mar 2015

Updates from World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR)Highlights of day 1a.       Third UN WCDRR 2015 has been officially opened today by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon in Sendai, Japan. The Secretary-General told the 4,000 participants – including representatives of 186 governments - attending the opening day of the five day event: “You have made this the highest-level meeting on DRR in history. This is the first stop on our journey to a new future. DRR advances progress on sustainable development and climate change.” He added, we can watch that number grow as more people suffer. Or we can dramatically lower that figure and invest the savings in development. Six billion dollars allocated each year can result in savings of up to US$360 billion by 2030. Among other dignitaries, His Majesty the emperor and Her Majesty the empress of Japan attended to grace the opening ceremony. The Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Shinzo Abe, also spoke in the opening session.b.      His Excellency Mr. Abe, today pledged $US 4 billion to support implementation of the “Sendai Cooperation Initiative for Disaster Risk Reduction” over the next four years. The package will focus on the development of disaster-proof infrastructure, … Read more

Internet Access to Justice: How Going Digital Opens Up the Courts

12 Mar 2015

The web-based case information interface will also be integrated into the national website for subordinate courts to offer easy access. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh
Public access to legal information is one of the main means of ensuring human rights protection and justice delivery. Conversely, inadequate public access to legal information creates challenges for proper service delivery by rights duty-bearers in the justice sector. As a means to address this problem, the Supreme Court, with the assistance of UNDP-JUST, has launched an online cause list and SMS-based automated case status information service for litigants. These digital initiatives are low-cost and efficient ways of broadening access to justice in Bangladesh.Courts in Bangladesh have traditionally used cause lists (printed lists of cases awaiting a hearing) to inform litigants about the status of cases and when they will be heard. Reliance on a hard copy of the cause list kept at the court’s location meant that litigants either had to personally go to the court or pay additional fees to court staff and advocates to access information on the status of their cases. The introduction of an online cause list and means that litigants in the Supreme Court can now easily access their case history from anywhere in the world through the Supreme Court’s website (www.supremecourt.gov.bd). Litigants in the subordinate courts of the three JUST Project pilot districts can … Read more

Talking It Out: Innovative Training and Techniques Tackle Bangladesh’s Court Backlog

12 Mar 2015

The number of cases resolved through mediation has increased by 49% since baseline data for the Project was collected in 2012. Photo; UNDP Bangladesh
Face time with Justices from the Supreme Court is typically a rarity for lower court judges, but such meetings have become more frequent as a result of a UNDP Judicial Strengthening (JUST) Project initiative that encourages higher court justices to train and mentor lower court judges in the field. This unprecedented approach allows Supreme Court justices to share their unique expertise with District Court judges in a more local context. Through the training, the lower court judges learned about the different aspects of mediation, including stages of mediation, the role of the mediator, best practices, case management mechanisms, impediments to mediation and the psychological aspects of mediation. A total of 19 Senior and Assistant Judges from the Dhaka and Kishorganj District Family Courts participated in the training, including three women judges. The UNDP’s JUST Project supports the judiciary in strengthening its capacity to administer justice. One of the Project’s primary aims is to reduce the overwhelming backlog of cases in Bangladesh’s courts, estimated to be approximately 1.8 million cases at the Project’s outset. It is believed that a reduction in the backlog will provide a sustainable foundation for the improvement of access to justice, especially for vulnerable groups such as the … Read more