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Bangladesh launches village court system with UNDP

Bangladesh launches village court system with UNDP

Bangladesh launched a campaign Tuesday to formally establish village courts in 500 rural administrative councils to settle small-scale disputes outside formal courts.
Human rights groups have complained the old system _ where women can be caned or separated from the family for romantic relationships outside of marriage _ keeps the rural poor from real justice.
The new rural judicial system will also reduce the pressure on the already overburdened legal system, where half a million cases are still pending, Robert Juhkam, the acting resident representative of the United Nations Development Program, said at the launch of the scheme in the capital, Dhaka.
"If it is successful, this project will significantly contribute to promoting rural justice," he said.
Aided by the European Commission and the UNDP, in collaboration with the government, the effort will empower the Union Parishads, or rural councils, to gradually phase out the informal practice of local disputes being settled by the rural elite, said Syed Ashraful Islam, a senior member of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Cabinet.
Bangladesh needed a formal justice system in its villages to ensure that "human rights and the values of democracy" are upheld, Islam said.
Initially 500 rural administrative councils out of more than 4,000 councils will be under the purview of the village court project, which will cost about $10.4 million over next four years.


Updated : 2021-10-27 02:58 GMT+08:00