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Report No. 226

Chapter 4

Law in other Countries

Acid Violence in other Countries: A Situational Analysis

Acid attacks have been documented in various different parts of the world including Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Italy, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uganda, UK, USA, and Vietnam. However, the number of incidences in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Cambodia and Uganda are much higher and are on the rise.

Certain social and cultural issues responsible for these attacks have been "refusals of a relationship or marriage proposal, failures of a girl to bring a dowry to her husband, marital disputes, family disputes, political rivalries, land disputes and the accidental presence of the victims at the scene."1 Most of the reasons are specifically related to gender and are common reasons in countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Uganda; where other crimes against women like dowry related crimes, domestic violence and honor crimes exist.

Infact in India, it has been said that "acid attacks on women are a systemic form of gendered sexual violence. Unlike acid attacks on men, these attacks are used as a weapon to silence and control women by destroying what is constructed as the primary constituent of her identity, i.e., her body. It is important then for any campaign against acid attacks to mobilize public opinion towards recognizing acid attacks as a form of gendered sexual violence and more importantly to recognize the patriarchal notions underlying these attacks".2

1. Internet Edition Holiday, The acid violence against women, Shadnaz Khan, May 27,2005.

2. Burnt not Destroyed-Report by CSAAAW.

Furthermore, depicting country specific trends is useful while drawing up an appropriate legislation to address the problem. For instance, as many of cases of acid violence in Cambodia occur in the household, the crime has been proposed to be addressed in their Domestic Violence Act. A similar approach was taken in Bangladesh in 1995 when the government initially thought acid attacks to be a gender specific crime and passed the Cruelty to Women and Children Act.

In 2000 the Prevention of Oppression against Women and Children Act again dealt with acid attacks on women and children. However the rise in trends of acid violence against men that ensued in the late 1900s made it necessary for the Bangladeshi government to pass a law that dealt with the crime against both women and men in specific terms. Hence, in 2002 two new laws, the Acid Offences Prevention Act 2002 and Acid Control Act were enacted in 2002 to address the growing problem.



The Inclusion of Acid Attacks as Specific Offences in the Indian Penal Code and a law for Compensation for Victims of Crime Back




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