Bangladesh: acid attacks, women and children the most affected group
Since 1999, 2,496 cases of acid attacks, according to data from the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF). In 2010, 72% of cases of girls and women between 18 and 34 years. Growing attacks on men, over property related issues.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Dowries, adultery, rejection of sexual advances, family disputes and vendettas related to property are the main causes of the 2,496 cases of acid attacks since 1999. Girls and women between 18 and 34 years are the most affected age group, with 74 cases recorded in 2010. In recent years, although to a lesser extent, men between 25 and 44 years have also become victims of this practice, mostly for reasons related to money and land. The data are from the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF), an organization founded in Dhaka in 1999 by British physician John Morrison.

Proprio nel 2002, su pressione di ong nazionali e internazionali, il governo ha varato una severa legge contro tale fenomeno, che ha portato alla condanna di 53 persone solo quell’anno. Nel 2003, il numero delle condanne balza a 96, per poi scendere in modo netto a 50 l’anno seguente.

In 1999, there were 115cases of acid attacks. A number destined to rise exponentially over the following years: 174 in 2000 and 252 in 2001, 367 in 2002. Year after year, thanks to the work of the Asf - which uses the latest technology and has a large volunteer basin of medical personnel, even foreign - the number of survivors has grown hand in hand: 138 in 1999, 234 in 2001, 349 in 2002. Since the founding of Asf, global statistics speak of 3,194 survivors.

Only in 2002, under pressure from national and international NGOs, the government has passed a strict law against this phenomenon, which has led to the conviction of 53 people that year alone. In 2003, the number of convictions jumped to 96, then declined sharply to 50 in the following year.

Since the beginning of this year, the association has recorded only 63 new attacks, against 80 cases of survivors. Although episodes are declining, the phenomenon of acid attacks have yet to be brought under control. In 2010 alone, 72% of the cases involved women and girls. Yesterday the story emerged of Sima, a ten year old girl disfigured with acid by her father when she was only ten months old.

The Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) works with the victims of the acid attacks, providing advanced medical care, rehabilitation, psychological and legal support, in order to reintegrate these people - mostly women and children – into their communities and raise awareness of the problem in society. (N.I.)