Report No. 226
There has been a steady increase in acid attacks in Bangladesh from approximately 12 per year to 50 per year in the mid-1990s. An even more significant jump was observed in the late 1990s when NGOs in Bangladesh reported up to 250 cases per annum. The sudden increase in cases has been partly attributed to better reporting and making the cases more visible by NGOs like Naripokkho, a women's advocacy organization, in 1995 and the Acid Survivors Foundation in Dhaka in 1999. These NGOs made sure that as many cases as possible were reported and recorded and that the victims received help and compensation.1
However, only part of this increase can be explained by this progress that was made in the documentation of cases2 In 2001, 340 cases were reported, in 2002, 336 cases were reported and in 2003, 335 cases were reported3 Earlier attacks were almost always committed against young women and girls by men who were angered by their victims rejecting their sexual advances or marriage proposals. However, as the crime became more common the motives for attacks grew more varied and presently more than 30% of victims are men, and land disputes are one of the biggest reasons for attacks.4
1. Acid Attacks: Bangladesh's Efforts to Stop the Violence, Jordan Swanson, Harvard Health Policy Review Archives, Spring 2002; Vol 3, No 1.
2. Baseline Survey with International Comparative Analysis of the Legal Aspects of Acid Violence in Uganda, Commissioned by: Acid Survivors Foundation Uganda, Legal Consultant: Rachel Forster , November, 2004.
3. Acid Violence Against Women, Quoting ASF statistics.
4. Acid Survivors Foundation Bangladesh.
Between 1999 and 2002, acid attacks in Bangladesh increased at a rate of 50% per year, culminating in 485 attacks in 2002. In 2003 there was a 15% decrease in cases to 410 per year.1
1. Acid Survivors Foundation Bangladesh.
The experience in Bangladesh was that acid violence cases took up to 10 years to be prosecuted in court and as many as 1 in 10 cases did not go to trial.1 By 1999 only 10 men had been imprisoned as a result of an acid crime. Between 1999 and 2001 of the 750 acid attack cases reported and only 25 were convicted.2
1. Moniram Rahman, Executive Director, Acid Survivors Foundation, Bangladesh.
2. The Hindu, Acid Attack victims yet to get assistance, 27-4-2007.
The Acid Offences Prevention Act 20021 reads as follows-
1. Unofficial translation of Act 2 of 2002, The Parliament of Bangladesh.