Bangladesh campaign has cut acid attacks
In 2002 we recorded more than 500 attacks annually. Within five years this had been reduced to fewer than 100.
Ian Jack highlights the widespread prevalence of acid as a weapon of violence (The durability of an unfathomable crime, 11 February). He names several countries with a high number of attacks, including Bangladesh. But Bangladesh should not be included. It has had a remarkable success in reducing the number of attacks.
I helped to establish an NGO in Bangladesh in 1999 to work on the issue of acid violence and was its first director. As well as providing medical support, we mounted a campaign to reduce the level of attacks. In 2002 we recorded more than 500 attacks annually. Within five years this had been reduced to fewer than 100. The number of attacks has now declined to the point where the NGO is scaling down its activities.
The NGO worked closely with the government of Bangladesh, which introduced strict new penalties, set up special courts to deal with cases and restricted the sale of acid. Bangladesh shows that if government, NGOs and civil society work together, acid violence can be overcome.
Scarborough, North Yorkshire
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