A new creative advocacy campaign is about to come to light in collaboration with NCSW and PCSWs, stay tuned and get ready for the D-Day!
A few photos to provide you with a first avant-gout…
An extraordinarily kind and humble man, French surgeon Dr. Philippe Patenotre from Médecins du Monde or Doctors of the World is known for developing a special bond with his patients.
This is his fourth visit to Pakistan in the past two years under the MdM mission. Interestingly, he always volunteers to do his part of work in Pakistan. “Patients in Pakistan are very moving. They are so thankful and appreciative and give ultimate respect. It is rare to find such sentiments anywhere else in the world,” said Dr Phillipe in an interview to ‘The News’. It brought tears to his eyes when he described the affection and love he receives in Pakistan.
“He enjoys giving French names to his patients and also mingles up with them as if they were his family members. He neither visits any place nor does he attend any lunch or dinner. His team’s only objective is to perform as many surgeries as possible,” said Muhammad Khan Executive Director Acid Survivors Foundation.
MdM is an international humanitarian non-profit organization that provides emergency and long-term medical care to vulnerable populations while advocating for equal access to healthcare worldwide. Founded in 1980 by a group of 15 French physicians, the MdM was formed with a mission to provide timely emergency medical care free of legal and administrative restrictions, to work with local populations to ensure long-term sustainability of healthcare systems, and to advocate on behalf of client populations. They started their work in Pakistan in 2005.
Under this initiative, a team of French doctors visit Pakistan for 10 days after every six months. Only during the latest visit, Dr Philippe performed 28 free surgeries on patients who could not afford the expensive treatment otherwise.
Head of the team of Pakistani doctors, who assist Dr Phillippe also spoke highly of the humbleness and hard work of the French team. “They start at 7:30am in the morning and continue till 8pm,” said Dr Tasneem of Rehnuma FPAP.
Talking about the hurdles he faces in treatment of his patients, mostly violence victims, Dr Phillippe said that on every visit, he finds improvement in all terms. Some cases he has dealt with were challenging though. “Back in France, I usually perform reconstruction procedures on patients of brain or breast cancer,” he said.
For him, the most challenging case was of acid burn victim Nazeeran. “She had 80 percent burns and I faced some disappointment at the start as her skin was not responding to surgeries as expected.”
Dr Philippe performed two major surgeries on Nazeeran involving multiple procedures. “I am glad that she has turned into a confident person leading a normal life.”
2nd consultation on Comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill 2015 in KP organised by PCSW, chaired by Mrs Neelam Toru, in partnership with EU and in collaboration with ASF-Pakistan and GD Pakistan. 2 members of the HRCYT were there, Noor-Eva and Imane. Stay tuned!
SIALKOT: A woman, married for three weeks, died from acid consumption at the Daska Civil Hospital on Monday.
According to the City Daska police, 25-year-old Takreem Bibi, of neighbourhood Mughalpura, was brought to the hospital by her neighbours as her in-laws had forced her to swallow acid. Doctors said she died of internal injuries caused by acid intake.
Takreem was married to Imran Mughal about three weeks ago. Police said the woman was frequently beaten up by her in-laws for not arranging a good range of dowry.
Police said the in-laws fled the house.
This is the second incident in five days in Daska where a woman was killed over the dowry issue.
Earlier, Aneeba Shehzadi, 26, was allegedly poisoned to death by her husband Asadullah in village Behaaripur-Motra on Sept 24. She had died at the Daska Civil Hospital.
Police have yet to trace Asad and his family.
HONOUR KILLINGS: A local landlord and his two wives were shot dead on Monday allegedly by the family of his second wife for honour in village Dholleywali-Daska.
Daska Saddar police said Mushtaq Ghuman had three daughters from his first wife, Sajeela Firdous. Two years ago, Bahawalpur-based Gul Naz eloped with him and they both held a court marriage.
Gul Naz’s family developed a grudge against Gul Naz and Ghuman and would hurl threats on them.
On Monday, Gul Naz’s father Tariq, uncle Zia and nephew Khurram stormed Ghuman’s house in Dholleywali and shot dead Ghuman, Sajeela and Gul Naz. They fled the house on a motorcycle.
Daska Saddar police registered a triple murder case against Tariq, Zia and Khurram on the report of Mushtaq’s brother Ehsanullah.
Police shifted the bodies to Daska Civil Hospital for autopsy.
Superintendent of Police Irfan Tariq Khan said a special police team, led by inspector Muhammad Akhtar Cheema, was raiding places to arrest the suspects.
Also, in the Hajipura locality of Daska, 12-year-old Ameer Muaviya was gunned down at the home of his uncle Muhammad Ashfaq Rehmani.
Daska City police registered a case.
Published in Dawn September 29th, 2015
Around 1,500 cases are recorded every year but the real figure is probably far higher.
BY SAMIRA SHACKLE PUBLISHED 1 APRIL, 2014 – 12:10
Naomi Oni had left work and was on her way home to Dagenham, east London, when acid was thrown in her face. The attack took place in 2012 when she was just 20 years old. Oni is still undergoing painful skin grafts to rebuild her face.
In an emotional interview on Radio 4’s Today programme on 24 March, Oni, now 22, spoke of her isolation. “I didn’t choose this,” she said. “I’m only human.” She labelled the Metropolitan Police as incompetent: they initially suggested she had thrown acid on herself. They later charged Mary Konye, a former friend of Oni’s, with the attack; she was found guilty in January and jailed for 12 years.
Acid violence has been in the headlines after several high-profile cases. Last August, Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee, two British 18-year-olds, suffered a random attack in Zanzibar. The previous January, the Bolshoi Ballet’s artistic director Sergei Filin was assaulted by one of its principal dancers.
Worldwide, about 1,500 cases of acid violence are recorded every year, according to Acid Survivors Trust, but the real figure is probably far higher. And the sheer brutality of acid attacks – which take seconds to carry out but can cause permanent disability, as well as excruciating pain and disfigurement – makes them unusual and noteworthy.
It has been suggested that attacks are increasing in the UK but a lack of reliable statistics makes this difficult to verify. NHS statistics recorded 105 hospital admissions for “assault by corrosive substance” in 2011-2012, but this category covers not only acid. That contrasts with 44 admissions in 2006-2007. There is no ethnic or geographic evidence to back this up, but some reports suggest that honour crimes in south Asian, south-east Asian and East African communities are responsible for the increase.
Certainly attacks are prevalent in south Asia, but they also happen in Cambodia, Vietnam, Colombia, Peru and elsewhere, including the UK and the US. It is a kind of violence that transcends cultural and religious borders, but is most common in places where acid is readily available. In south Asia, where regulation is poor and acid is used in the cotton industry, a bottle of the stuff can be bought for 20p.
The crime has a long history in Britain. In the 1740s, when sulphuric acid was widely available, acid-throwing happened often. In the 1830s, one Glasgow periodical wrote that acid violence had “become so common . . . as to become almost a stain on the national character”.
Acid attacks are often a form of gender-based violence and, as such, they occur most commonly in countries where women are disenfranchised. Last year I visited the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) in Islamabad, the only centre in Pakistan dedicated to the rehabilitation and treatment of victims. The most striking thing about the stories of the women I met was the triviality of the causes: men taking revenge for rejected marriage proposals or husbands who got bored by their wives. It brought to mind the case of the former model Katie Piper, the UK’s most high-profile acid survivor, whose attack was orchestrated by an ex-boyfriend in 2008.
There are no hard and fast rules of this crime: men can be the victims of acid attack and women can be the perpetrators. Yet the attacks are always about exerting control and erasing identity. Mohammad Jawad, a plastic surgeon who operated on Piper and who appeared in Saving Face, the Oscar-winning documentary about acid attacks in Pakistan, described it thus: “The attacker is saying: ‘I don’t want to kill her – I am going to do something to distort her.’ It’s a walking dead situation for the victim.”
When the Today presenter Mishal Husain asked Oni why Konye had attacked her, she started to sob. “She is an evil person . . . No one in this world should throw acid on someone because they had an argument.”
It is a natural impulse to search for the reasons for such abuse, but can there ever be a justification? To most people it would be unimaginable to lose one’s face. As Oni said during her interview, explaining oneself and being disbelieved is a second abuse.
The situation for survivors of acid violence varies globally, but to differing extents all survivors feel socially ostracised. Few cultures are kind to disfigurement.
“Acid attack doesn’t mean the end of your life,” Valerie Khan, the director of ASF Islamabad, told me: “provided you receive those rehabilitation services to psychologically and physically repair you, mentally rebuild your self-confidence, and empower you economically – despite the new you, which is not necessarily an easy one to be accepted with.”
Acid violence is an extreme expression of control. Society can help to wrest some of that back for survivors by believing them, supporting them, providing medical treatment, and, crucially, redressing the balance with justice.
ISLAMABAD: The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) for the establishment of a mechanism for data collection and monitoring data update on a six-month basis
The purpose of this MoU is to organise training/networking workshops for capacity building and sensitisation of parliamentarians/members of assemblies, especially women, in relation with acid and burn violence. Both NCSW and ASF would identify, document and share good practices that will be capitalised upon in the future to address gender-based violence, especially violence against women. NCSW Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz termed the MoU a milestone for NCSW and said it was an important step towards testing and developing a workable monitoring mechanism that will provide the basis for appropriate actions. Mumtaz hoped that the MoU will provide a good model for collectively promoting women’s rights and working towards achieving gender equity as envisaged in Article 25 of the constitution. According to the Acid Survivors Foundation the country has a high survival rate amongst the victims of acid attacks. The victims, who mostly hail from low-income groups, face the uphill task of rebuilding their lives with physical challenges and psychological changes, which require long-term surgical treatment and in-depth intervention from psychologists and counselors. The ASF Chairperson Valerie Khan defined the MoU as “an interesting step towards institutionalising the promotion and protection of women’s rights in Pakistan”. She said that “such collaborations between the civil society and government institutions are crucial for enhancing good governance in the current scenario present in the country”.
February 20, 2014
by Sharon Behn
Muhammad Hassan Mangi, Director General of the Pakistan Ministry of Human Rights, said there are laws in place against acid throwing. He admits, however, that more needs to be done.
“You need to have such methods and things in practice that you can express your, even, anger in a decent manner. That has to be understood by society,” he said.
Muhammad Farooq refused to marry the woman his family had chosen for him. His punishment was having corrosive acid thrown in his face.
“It felt like water, but I was wrong. The acid burned my face and body, my skin sounded like dried leaves cracking,” said Farooq.
Forty percent of the acid attack victims in Pakistan are men or boys.
Farooq endured horrific physical pain. And deep depression. “At first, I was devastated. There was nothing left in my life. No past, no future, no present,” he said.
There were 143 acid attacks registered with the Acid Survivors Foundation in 2013. Most were against women and girls.
Nusrat Bibi’s brother refused to marry into her husband’s family. She paid the price. She’s had 17 surgeries to rebuild her face and body.
“Anyone who saw me got scared. They showed my pictures to my children to scare them, telling them their mother was frightening and had become a ghost,” said Bibi.
“It’s about rebuilding your mind, your self-esteem, and it’s about reclaiming your space in the community and in the public space as a man, a woman, who deserves — and will obtain — respect and dignity again,” she said.
Farooq no longer hides his face. He is trying his hand at photography. He’s living his life.
“My message to those that did this is that you tried your best to kill us, but we have been saved. God willing we will move on. Never lose hope, be patient. This is a test of patience. God will reward us,” said Farooq.
The Supreme Court directive earlier this week to all States and Union Territories to put in place draft rules to regulate the sale of acid by this fiscal-end has once again brought to light India’s sluggishness in addressing acid crime.
In fact, India has long lagged behind first Bangladesh and then Pakistan in specifically criminalising acid attacks. It was only earlier this year that the Centre — on Supreme Court’s prodding — amended the criminal law to punish perpetrators of acid attacks with 10-year imprisonment.
This contrasts sharply with neighbouring Bangladesh and somewhat even with Pakistan. Bangladesh has had an acid law for over a decade now and is often flagged as exemplary in this regard. In fact, it was one of the first countries to legislate on acid attacks with the enactment of the Acid Control Act in 2002. Under the Act, the unlicensed production, import, transport, storage, sale and use of acid was made punishable with a prison sentence of three to 10 years.
In the sub-continent, Pakistan came a distant second in putting in place the legal instruments to specifically deal with acid attacks. The penal code and the criminal procedure code were amended in 2011 to provide maximum of life imprisonment for perpetrators of acid attacks. But, as is the case in India, Pakistani provinces are yet to legislate to regulate the sale of acid and other corrosive substances.