During a field visit to Khulna on July 18, 2019, Ambassador of the European Union and Head of Delegation to Bangladesh, Rensje Teerink said, “Village Courts are playing an effective role in maintaining peace in rural areas, ensuring good governance, and reducing litigation in the higher courts.” She also praised the efforts of the local administration in making village courts more functional in working areas of Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh Phase II (AVCB II) Project.
AVCB II is the continuation of a successful first phase which ended in 2015. The current project began in January 2016 through an effective collaboration among Local Government Division (LGD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU). It not only seeks to create an effective dispute resolution mechanism at the grassroots level, it also aims to empower villagers, especially women; create a system to monitor village courts, and make holistic improvement in the lives of everyone through evidence-based village courts management.
Having seen the impact of the project firsthand, Robert Chatterton Dickson, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, deeply appreciated Village Courts’ efforts to bring justice to the rural population within a short time at low cost.
The delegation comprised of Audrey Maillot, Governance Team Leader; Alexandru Calota, Programme Manager (Governance), and Philip Mellish, Programme Manager, Governanceof the European Union who observed the activities of Village Court at Noihati union parishad of Rupsha upazila in Khulna. They attended a live hearing session of Village Court and consulted with elected representatives as well as beneficiaries of the union.
Sarder M. Asaduzzaman, National Project Coordinator of AVCB II Project briefed the delegation during their visit. Ishrat Jahan, Deputy Director Local Government of Khulna, speaking to the delegation in detail about the state of Village Courts shared, “A total of 112,428 cases have been filed in 1,080 unions of the project area from July 2017 to May 2019. Out of these, 77% cases have been resolved and decisions of 94% of those resolved cases have been implemented.” She also informed that 28 percent of Village Court applicants were women.
AVCB II Project works in 1,080 unions of 27 districts for making village courts more functional, which is being implemented by Local Government Division with trio-partnership of the European Union, Government of Bangladesh and United Nations Development Programme in Bangladesh.