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‘Restorative justice can mitigate conflicts’


Published : 22 Nov 2021 10:17 PM

Bangladesh Criminological Asso­ciation (BCA) and the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) Bangladesh hosted a webinar on “Prospects and Possibilities of Restorative Justice in Bangladesh” on Saturday. 

The purpose of this webinar was to promote awareness and to foster innovation and creativity in the field of Restorative Justice. 

The webinar provided a platform for learning and discussion between community members, practitioners, academics, and justice stakeholders.

Restorative justice is a need-based understanding of justice where victims, offenders and community members are involved to deal with conflict or crime

The third week of November is celebrated globally as the Restorative Justice Week. The webinar was moderated by Associate professor of the Department of Criminology & Political Science of Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University (MBSTU) Bangladesh Dr. Aziz Rahman. The president of the Bangladesh Criminology Association and former Vice-Chancellor of Chattagram University and Professor of Sociology Department Professor DrIftekhar Uddin Chowdhury was also present in the session as a Discussant. 

The respective panel speakers of the webinar were Joint District & Sessions Judge Khadiza Bhuiyan, Assistant Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh Asaduzzaman Sardar and Assistant professor of Department of Justice at the University of Regina DrMuhammad Asadullah.

The webinar was dividedon four primary areas, the concept and history of Restorative Justice, different justicepractices used in Bangladesh, challenges and concerns aroundthe implementation of Restorative Justice Practice in Bangladesh, and prospects and possibility for restorative justice in Bangladesh.

At the beginning of the session, Assistant Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh, Asaduzzaman Sardar delivered a brief idea on the concept of Restorative Justice; he stated that "Restorative Justice refers to the restoration of a broken relationship between a criminal with another person, society and state".

Dr Muhammad Asadullah added that "Restorative Justice is a way of life" and discussed the historical background of Restorative Justice and its application in Bangladesh, New Zealand and Canada. He also shared numerous community-based justice practices that are rooted in RJ principles and values. 

Later on, Joint District & Sessions Judge Khadiza Bhuiyan talked about the barriers, prospects and possibilities of practicing restorative justice. She also remarked that "in order to apply restorative justice effectively, it is imperative to change our perception. She also opined that restorative justice can be applied in cases of first-time offenders, juvenile delinquents, and domestic violence."  

In response to a question, Asaduzzaman Sardar, a pioneer of the Activating Bangladesh's Village Courts project, argued that restorative justice takes a "whole-of-society approach" in Bangladesh. According to BCA President, former Vice Chancellor, and sociologist Professor Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury, “Restorative justice can play a significant role in mitigating problems arising out of very small conflicts in terms of family affairs, and land disputes in Bangladesh”. 

Criminology & Police Science associate professor and ICA Bangladesh Chairperson Dr Aziz Rahman indicates that instead of retreating from using restorative conflict resolution practices such as Salish,it is high time to revive such restorative justice practicesthroughrecentlyintroduced community policing, model police station, and crime prevention programs to improve the community wellbeing and the criminal justice system of Bangladesh.

Academics and students from different universities attended the webinar and made it successful.