HOW TO END ACID ATTACKS

Implementation of laws

Photography by Ann-Christine Woehrl

National governments hold the ultimate responsibility for introducing and implementing laws and policies around acid violence against women and girls. Therefore governments should be, held accountable for doing so. They are also well placed to achieve change on violence against women and girls. The obligation for states to prevent violence against women and girls and to provide comprehensive services to survivors of such violence was established as a ‘due diligence’ standard by General Recommendation No. 19 of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1992. One of reasons acid violence occurs is the cheap and easy availability of acid. The State’s due diligence obligation to prevent acid violence includes regulating sale of acid as well enacting criminal laws to punish perpetrators (see Justice? What Justice? ASTI’s study on acid violence laws in UK, India, Cambodia and Colombia.)

Changing attitudes

Many of the countries where acid violence occurs possess high levels of violence against women. Like other forms of violence against women, acid violence  arises due to inequitable gender relations.  Violence against women and girls is rooted in gender-based discrimination and social norms and gender stereotypes that perpetuate such violence. The best way to end acid violence is to prevent it from happening in the first place by addressing its root causes. Education is critical in prevention of acid attacks and other forms of violence against women and girls.

 

Prevention should start early in life, by educating and working with young boys and girls promoting respectful relationships and gender equality.

Research

Research helps to gain a clear understanding of the causes and effects of acid violence. It helps in identifying practical and feasible policy solutions. This enables consensus in favour for change particularly in persuading policy-makers to change policies, laws or implementation; quality research is needed to evidence the need for change. ASTI has led the way in producing quality research focused specifically on acid violence in multiple countries. Here are examples of research conducted by ASTI:

 

  • “Justice? What Justice.” Our latest report (released September 2015) analyses cases across India, Colombia, Cambodia and the UK and has been compiled by leading international law firms, ASTI and the Thomson Reuters Foundation. This report evidences the lack of justice for survivors of acid attacks.

  • In partnership with local partners situational analyses of acid and burns violence in Cambodia, Nepal and Uganda was produced. These comprehensive reports provide a strong evidence base by examining the incidence and profile of victims, criminal laws, survivors’ access to medical, social support and justice mechanisms, and provide recommendations to combat acid and burns violence in the three countries. These reports were published on 14 November 2011 and are a vital tool in raising awareness and strengthening support services to survivors.

Partnerships and coalitions

ASTI seeks to work in collaboration and partnership with multiple partners in multiple countries. We recognise the importance of partnerships and coalitions.  A coalition of like-minded organisations can win on more fronts than organisations working alone at state and national level.  Partnerships leverage the comparative advantage of each member, reduce duplication, share knowledge, information and expertise. ASTI has worked with a network of likeminded organisations such as Acid Survivors Foundation Pakistan, Burns Violence Survivors Nepal, Acid Survivors Foundation India, Cambodia Acid Survivors Charity, Acid Survivors Foundation Bangladesh and Acid Survivors Foundation Uganda.

 

ASTI has also partnered on large projects with the British Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations for projects in Pakistan, Uganda, Nepal, Bangladesh and Cambodia.

 

These partnerships have led to:

 

  • Medical care for survivors
  • Raising awareness on rights of survivors
  • Access to legal support
  • Assistance in psychological and social rehabilitation
  • Livelihood support for survivors
  • Training of medical staff
  • Advocacy for changes to prevent acid attacks occurring

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Acid Survivors Trust International

 

Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI)  is a UK registered charity no. 1154961

 

Patron: Her Royal Highness

The Princess Royal