Posts Tagged ‘valerie khan Yusufzai’
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Moving forward the legislative process of Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2010, Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar has submitted the notice for the said amendment in the Senate.
After review by the Law Committee, the bill reached Senate on October 15. The civil society feared that if not taken up in the Senate in time, the Bill will meet the same fate as was met by the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill (DVB). The DVB was passed unanimously by the National Assembly in August 2009, but lapsed after the Senate failed to pass it within the three months stipulated by the constitution.
The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention (Amendment) Bill, introduced last year by MNAs Marvi Memon, Begum Shahnaz Sheikh and Advocate Anushay Rehman, was passed by the National Assembly on May 10 this year. Following that, the Bill was moved to the Law Committee.
The amendment bill was introduced in the assembly in a bid to prevent growing incidents of violence against women. The statement of objectives and reasons of the bill, mentions that the crime of throwing acid on women is becoming more and more common and recurring day by day. It says that the main cause of it is the absence of proper legislation on this subject.
“Therefore the criminal minded people are constantly using it as a dangerous and devastating arm against women. In view of these circumstances, there is an increasing need to make comprehensive legislation in this regard,” the draft states.
The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention (Amendment) Bill is an amendment in Pakistan Penal Code 1860. It increases the punishment of offenders up to life imprisonment and makes it mandatory for the offender to pay a fine of Rs1 million to the victim.
The amendment in Section 336-B states, “Whoever causes hurt by corrosive substance shall be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment of either description which shall not be less than fourteen years and a minimum fine of one million rupees.” The new insertion in Section 336-A states, “Whosoever with intention or knowingly causes or attempts to cause hurt by means of a corrosive substance or any substance which is deleterious to human body when it is swallowed, inhaled, come in contact or received into human body or otherwise shall be said to cause hurt by corrosive substance.”
Talking to ‘The News’, Senator Nilofar Bakhtair stressed that a system is required to stop such heinous crimes in the country. “As a first step, the proposed bill will bring required change in the definitions of PPC. The next step will be to introduce a comprehensive legislation as instructed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.” The senator said that certain mindset could oppose the bill in the Senate but she was hopeful that the Bill will be passed as it benefits both men and women. “More than 50 per cent of the victims of acid crime are men and children,” she said.
Civil Society Calls for a Comprehensive Legislation to Eradicate Acid and Burn Crimes in Pakistan
Islamabad: Civil society organizations have called upon legislators to pass a comprehensive law to eradicate crimes involving acid throwing and other burn attacks and provide support to victims of such crimes. While welcoming an amendment in the Pakistani Penal Code adopted by the National Assembly of Pakistan to enhance the punishment for acid crimes, the civil society has emphasized the need for a more comprehensive legislation for the purpose.
Through a statement issued on May 17, a number of civil society organizations welcomed the amendment as a significant achievement “as it acknowledges the gravity of acid crimes and enhances punishment for acid crimes”. However, they declared that the bill was not enough to eradicate acid crimes from Pakistan. They demanded that in the light of a verdict made by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the parliament should adopt a comprehensive legislation on the model of the Bangladeshi law.
Pakistani government and law makers need to follow the example of Bangladesh where number of acid throwing incidents, have dropped from 500 a year in 1998 to 60 a year more recently because of effective legislation and improved compliance.
The current amendment does not address the investigation process that often faces delays and is biased against survivors and their families. There is a need to make investigation and police officer accountable and ensure protection to victims and witnesses through law. Length of trial also needs to be fixed and accountability should be set in case of an unfair trial.
There is strong need for an authority or a forum to support victims in medical treatment, socio-economic rehabilitation and legal support, besides collecting and maintaining data and establishing an appropriate surveillance/funding system that could facilitate implementation, awareness and preventive steps.
The civil society calls for early legislation of the proposed Acid and Burn Crimes Act 2011 that was drafted in light of the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan after extensive process of stakeholders’ consultation involving civil-society, legal and medical experts, local communities, law enforcement agencies, international organisations, media and survivors.
On 17th and 18th July 2010, a handicraft exhibition was organised in Islamabad in Rothas F-7.
This was the occasion for the acid survivors to pilot test the market value of the products they were making through Acid Survivors Foundation NCRU: bracelets, parandas (decorated hair extension), cell phones pouches. Additionally, it was an interactive way to train the survivors on the business cycle they would have to face and also give them the opportunity to interact with the community as any other citizen. The response was good, 9650 Rs raised over the week end and a public eager to understand the problem, encourage the survivors, and buy the products. Our next project will be the Eid Mela, so wish us luck!
Last but not least, it was also the occasion to introduce a game Malamaal, designed for children and adolescents and to educate them about child rights, hygiene, HIV-AIDS, Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) and Child Commercial and Sexual Exploitation (CSEC) as half of our children victims have been attacked when they refused to be abused, and general knowledge.
This consultation meant to give a legal technical path to redraft the ACCPB…
25 participants attended the consulatation and suggested various ways forward: specific law on acid, implementation and monitoring mechanism.
The new ACCPB will be the result of this first consultation and will be reviewed by a group of NGOs, stakeholders and legal experts as Acid Survivors Foundation is committed to promote democratic and peaceful processes. We will certainly keep you updated and share the agenda of our second meeting: do not miss here!
AGENDA OF THE LAWYERS’ CONSULTATION MEETING ON “THE ACID CONTROL & ACID CRIME PREVENTION BILL”
Best Western Hotel Islamabad
|2:00 PM||Registration, Welcome Speech & Recitation of Quran|
|02:20PM||Presentation of Acid Violence Phenomenon||Miss Sana Masood|
|Presentation of the Bill, Consultative Process and the Role of Participants||Mr. Naveed Khan|
|02:35-3:15PM||Beginning of the Process; Critique on the Bill||10 Legal Experts; 3 Groups (two groups of 3, one group of 4), one leading facilitator, two moderators.|
|03:15-03:45PM||Debate & Discussion on the Critique||Participants|
|04:30-5:30PM||Second part of the process-Recommendations||Participants|
|5:30-06:00PM||Collection of feedback, vote of thanks, concluding remarks, announcement of next phase (2) with Civil Society after drafting the Bill.||Mr. Naveed Khan & Ms. Fahmida Iqbal|
Rebuilding shattered lives
June 05, 2010
The Acid Survivors Foundation aims to improve the lives of victims in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: When Valerie Khan Yusufzai came to Pakistan in 1996, she had no idea that she would be setting up an organisation dedicated to changing the lives of acid victims in the country.
With her husband, Mohammad Yusufzai, she moved first to Swabi and then to Islamabad.
“My family was not worried about me marrying a Pakistani man; they were more worried about me moving to Pakistan,” said Valerie.
She grew up in a strict environment with strong values in France. “So moving to NWFP actually felt like home,” she said.
A French literature graduate, she taught French for 12 years in Islamabad. But in 2005, Valerie’s mission began, when she first learnt about acid violence in Pakistan.
“I was not aware of the phenomenon [of acid violence] until I saw a victim at the beauty parlour. Seeing her disfigurement from a woman’s perspective, there was a strong instinctive force inside me that pushed me to help her,” she said.
Valerie helped the woman as much as she could, until financial and administration issues surfaced and she could not continue.
But it seemed Valerie had found her calling. With the support of family and friends, she turned her humanitarian efforts into a more formal organisation and the Acid Survivors Foundation was registered in 2007, with Valerie as Chairperson and her husband as Executive Director.
Since January 2007, 87 patients have registered with the organisation.
“Now we are facing financial issues, not because more cases have started occurring, but because more are being reported,” she said.
Victims can get free surgery at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad and Benazir Bhutto Hospital in Rawalpindi but these hospitals are already overburdened with patients.
Valerie feels that, even more than hospital burn centres, “The government needs to provide us with area to build Nursing Rehabilitation Units.”
These units will provide comprehensive rehabilitation services, medical and surgical nursing care, physiotherapy and psychotherapy as well as socioeconomic services.
“The rehabilitation is not just physical; the real work is to rebuild their shattered confidence and help them face the world again,” Valerie said.
At present, the patients are kept at a nursing care rehabilitation unit in Sector I-10.
“None of the victims will ever be exactly the same. We are not magicians, we are just social workers trying to make a difference,” she said.
Valerie said there was no support from the government in terms of funds because they did not trust local NGOs. “The government should double check the credibility of NGOs by checking their receipts, bank statements, legal documents. If this is done, the corrupt ones will be identified,” she said.
“The Acid Crime and Protection Bill was tabled in the National Assembly in December 2009 and much more work needs to be done to get it implemented,” she said.
The number of acid violence incidents increased in the last eights years, with 10 in 2002 and almost 50 in 2008, according to statistics from the Acid Survivor Foundation collected between 1991 and 2008.
The reason behind almost half of all reported cases, is family disputes, and 90 percent of the cases are reported in Punjab. Of all cases reported between 1991 and 2009, 61 percent of victims were female and 39 percent were male.
Valerie said her mission would continue as long as she lives. “We do thank God for what we are blessed with but every now and then there is a feeling within us that we must achieve more.”
“Do not believe you are doing something big because there are many exceptional people out there making a difference. One must always remain humble,” Valerie said.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 5th, 2010.