Acid Survivors Trust International
Acid violence is the deliberate use of acid to attack another human being. The victims of acid violence are overwhelmingly women and children, and attackers often target the head and face in order to maim, disfigure and blind. The act rarely kills but causes severe physical, psychological and social scarring, and victims are often left with no legal recourse, limited access to medical or psychological assistance, and without the means to support themselves. Acid violence is a worldwide phenomenon that is not restricted to a particular race, religion or geographical location.
Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) is the only organisation whose sole purpose is to work towards the end of acid violence across the world. Recognising the need for local knowledge and expertise in order to combat acid violence effectively, ASTI founded and continues to support the development of six partner organisations in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan, Nepal, Uganda and India. It also works with UN agencies, NGOs and strategic partners from across the world to increase awareness of acid violence and develop effective responses at the national and international level.
Currently, the six NGO organisations that ASTI supports and partners are in Bangladesh, Uganda, India, Cambodia, Pakistan and Nepal. Together they treat around 1,000 patients per year in total. (Note: These include both new and old cases. Survivors need on-going treatment often over many years. We calculate that 50 registered patients will result in a minimum of 600 admissions for repeat treatment.) Demand outstrips capacity.
Our partners in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Cambodia played a key advocacy role that led to legislative reform, taking into account acid violence. The Bangladesh government introduced acid specific legislation in 2002. The Pakistani government passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011. The Cambodian government passed legislation in 2012.
Bangladesh has seen a significant reduction in acid attacks. From 496 in 2002 to under 100 in 2011. This is a 75% reduction. In Bangladesh we have an approach that appears to be bringing about the desired goal of eradicating acid violence. This must serve as an inspiration for a global effort to eradicate this horrific form of gender-based violence.
ASTI’s patron is HRH The Princess Royal.
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