Posts Tagged ‘pakistan’

Presentation Of Needed Amendments For Comprehensive Acid And Burn Crime Bill 2014

June 25th, 2014

ASF Chairperson Valerie Khan along with Advocate Saad Rasool at Punjab provincial Assembly

Discussing the coming presentation to women parliamentary caucus members

The presentation in the Women Parliamentary Caucus was chaired by Fauzia Viqar, Chairperson PCSW and co -chaired by Minster for Social Welfare Department Punjab, to discuss the comprehensive legislation submitted by Asma Bokhari in Punjab Assembly on 5th June 2014. Valerie Khan and Saad Rasool explained that majority of acid and burn victims came from Punjab, that resources were available in pakistan : PIDSA project to build the Rehabilitation Center in Multan, inclusion of acid and burn victims in Fund for Women in Detention and in Distress, Bait Ul mal and other schemes… The comprehensive legislation will address all aspects of the acid and burn phenomenon that could not be tackled through a simple -but essential- amendment in the PPC.

CHASE: ASF new project in collaboration with ASTI, BVSN and UK AID

April 16th, 2014

ASF new campaign : what to do in case of acid attack...

From Myra Imran, The News

April 15th, 2014
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
From Print Edition
7  0  1  0
Islamabad

From 2007 to 2013, around 949 cases of acid attacks have been reported in the country. Among the total number, 519 were women whereas majority of cases (589) were reported from Punjab region.

The statistics were shared by the Chairperson Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Valerie Khan at the launch a report titled ‘Fostering Effective Implementation of Pro Human Rights Laws: Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011 (Act XXV), An Example of Good Practice.’ Valerie said that from January till March 2014, 40 cases of acid attacks have been reported in the country.

The report presents the efforts Pakistani government and civil society in improving the implementation of the above mentioned law. The event was organised by ASF in collaboration with National Commission on the Status of Women and Australian Aid.

The report highlighted that acid attacks reporting had increased (110 attacks in 2012 and 143 in 2013) which shows an encouraging trend to further break the silence and denounce violence against women and girls.

Additionally, the report insisted on the fact that police had made tremendous efforts to register due and correct FIRs under the new laws passed on December 12, 2011 when it faced acid attack cases. While only 1 per cent of the FIRs were registered under the correct law in 2012, 71 per cent of the FIRs registered in 2013 were under the new and correct law. The report mentions that many survivors still do not have sufficient or adequate access to medical and rehabilitation services, 65 per cent of the victims still could not access justice in 2013 and national consolidated data is still required.

Marvi Memon, the Chief Guest, declared that since 2010, Pakistan had come long way and she insisted that those improvements needed to be celebrated, but she also indicated that there was still a long way to go. She stressed that the “Comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill” must be passed.

“Now there is sufficient momentum to support this bill, and we owe it to other survivors, we will continue the fight,” she said.

The event was attended by various stakeholders from different areas in Pakistan and it included law enforcement agencies representatives, lawyers, doctors, survivors, members of civil society media, acid survivors themselves.

The panel discussion after the report launch was chaired by Chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women Khawar Mumtaz. Kishwar Zehra, MNA from MQM, was also amongst the panelists in addition to Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Peter Hayward and Chairperson ASF Valerie Khan Yusufzai.

All participants underlined the need to create awareness in order to challenge discriminatory and patriarchal mindsets, as well as transfer knowledge to achieve positive results in fostering law implementation. They were informed that judges now tend to punish far more severely in case of acid attack. before 2011, the average conviction was 6 to 10 years, now it is generally at least 20 years. It was shared that in general, convictions were more severe since 2012, and judiciary was trying to ensure trials in a shorter timeframe to provide relief to survivors since 2013.

Chairperson NCSW Khawar Mumtaz termed it encouraging that more reporting occurred but she also insisted the need to work on data and build up synergies to face the remaining challenges.

Valerie Khan called upon the government to lead the way and pass the Comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill that Marvi Memon has tabled in the Parliamentary Committee of Law and Justice last week. “We are ready to provide technical help to review the comprehensive bill, but it is urgent that the federal and provincial governments ensure stronger protection to Pakistani citizens. Pakistani has inspired many other countries to address acid violence such as Columbia and India but positive steps such as establishing burn centers and social rehabilitation centers, or medical boards must be part of a legislative framework to be sustained and institutionalized.”

Australian High Commissioner Peter Hayward congratulated all stakeholders for those improvements and reiterated Australia’s commitment to support ASF action.

Awards were later on distributed to police, lawyers and doctors from all over the country, what ASF called, the true heroes.

ASF press release

April 15th, 2014

Press release

On 14th April 2014, Acid Survivors Foundation Pakistan organised an event in collaboration with National Commission on the Status of Women and Australian Aid to launch a report titled : Fostering effective implementation of pro human rights laws: Criminal Law Amendment Act 2011 (Act XXV), an example of good practice. ASF-P presented how Pakistan had worked to improve the implementation of the above mentioned law.

Ms Marvi Memon, PML-N MNA, a champion for the fight against acid violence in Pakistan, was welcome as a Chief Guest, Mrs Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women chaired the panel of discussion. Mrs Kishwar Zehra, MQM –MNA was also amongst the panelists in addition with his excellency, Mr Peter Hayward, Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ms neelam Toru, Chairperson of the Provincial Commission on the Status of Women and Mrs Valerie Khan Yusufzai, Chairperson Acid Survivors Foundation Pakistan.

The event was attended by various stakeholders from different areas in Pakistan (Balochistan, ICT, Punjab, KP, Sindh) and it included Law Enforcement Agencies representatives, lawyers, doctors, survivors, members of civil society media, acid survivors themselves.

The report highlighted that acid attacks reporting had increased (110 attacks in 2012 and 143 in 2013) which shows an encouraging trend to further break the silence and denounce violence against women and girls.

Additionally, the report insisted on the fact that police had made tremendous efforts to register due and correct FIRs under the new laws passed on 12th December 2011 when it faced acid attack cases. While only 1% of the FIRs were registered under the correct law, WITHOUT ASF intervention in 2012, 71% of the FIRs registered in 2013 were under the new and correct law, without ASF intervention.

All participants underlined that awareness campaigns to challenge discriminatory and patriarchal mindsets, as well as transfer knowledge, were crucial to achieve positive results in fostering law implementation. Judges now tend to punish far more severely in case of acid attack: before 2011, the average conviction was 6 to 10 years, now it is generally at least 20 years.

ASF also informed participants that in general, convictions were more severe since 2012, and judiciary was trying to ensure trials in a shorter timeframe to provide relief to survivors since 2013.

Mrs Khawar Mumtaz Chairperson NCSW acknowledged that those improvements were positive, that more reporting occurred thanks to a stronger mobilization of Pakistani citizens to denounce this worst form of gender based violence, but she also insisted on the remaining challenges, the need to work on data and build up synergies like the ones proposed by ASF.

Many survivors still do not have sufficient or adequate access to medical and rehabilitation services, 65% of the victims still could not access justice in 2013 and national consolidated data is still required. Marvi Memon, the Chief Guest declared that since 2010, Pakistan had come long way and she insisted that those improvements needed to be celebrated, but she also indicated that there was still a long way to go: the “comprehensive acid and burn crime bill” must be passed, now there is sufficient momentum to support this bill, and we owe it to other survivors, we will continue the fight and we will make hings move.

To this effect, Valerie Khan Yusufzai, called upon the government of Pakistan to lead the way and pass the Comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill that Marvi Memon has tabled in the Parliamentary Committee of Law and Justice last week. “We are ready to provide technical help to review the comprehensive bill”, but it is urgent that the federal and provincial governments ensure stronger protection to Pakistani citizens. Much has been done, Pakistani has inspired many other countries to address acid violence such as Columbia and India but positive steps such as establishing burn centers and social rehabilitation centers, or medical boards must be part of a legislative framework to be sustained and institutionalized.

Mr Peter Hayward, Australian High Commissioner, congratulated ASF and all stakeholders for those improvements and reiterated Australia’s commitment to support ASF action.

Mrs Neelam Toru announced that the comprehensive bill was now ready with KP social welfare department so that it could be tabled, she said she knew cases were under-reported in KP as she had just been told of a case in Mardan on her way towards the event.

Ms Kiswar Zehra ensured ASF of MQM full support for the passage of he comprehensive acid and burn crime bill in assemblies.

Awards were later on distributed to police, lawyers and doctors from all over the country, what ASF called, the true heroes.

ASF Event In Collaboration With Australian Aid And NCSW, Join Us!

April 15th, 2014

Samira Shackle from Newstatesman

April 15th, 2014

Acid attacks: a horrific crime on the increase worldwide

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

Victims of spite: acid attack survivors at an anti-violence rally in Dhaka. (Photo: Rex Features)
Victims of spite: acid attack survivors at an anti-violence rally in Dhaka. (Photo: Rex Features)

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.

ASF Pakistan And NCSW Join Hands To Counter Acid Violence In Pakistan

April 15th, 2014

Article from Daily News:

NCSW, ASF sign MoU for data collection, monitoring

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”.

valerie Khan Yusufzai, Chairperson ASF, along with her excellency Mrs Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson National Commission on The Status of Women

ASFs In The World Joining Hands To Provide Quality Psycho-Social Support To Acid Survivors

February 25th, 2014

All ASF srepresentatives from left to right: ASF bangladesh, BSVN (Nepal), CASC (Cambodia), ASF India, ASF Pakistan

Amenah Hassan, ASF representative, receiving an award at the closure ceremony of the International conference held in Bangladesh.

Presenting an example of good practice

Acid Violence And What It Means To Survive And Hope

February 21st, 2014

Countering acid violence requires additional measures and work

http://www.voanews.com/content/practice-of-punishing-with-acid-attacks-persists-in-pakistan/1855836.html

February 20, 2014

Use of Acid Attacks for Punishment Persists in Pakistan

by Sharon Behn

WARNING: Video contains images of disfigured faces that some might find disturbing.

Despite laws against acid attacks, the practice of pouring acid on men, women and children as a form of punishment continues in Pakistan. Two victims who are trying to put their lives back together again spoke with VOA about their challenges.

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.

Valerie Khan, chair of the Acid Survivors Foundation in Islamabad, said breaking the stigma of the survivors’ scars is essential to their survival.

“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.

Signature Campaign In Multan To Implement CEDAW And Eradicate Violence Against Women And Girls.

February 15th, 2014

Seminar

Engaging boys

Engaging students