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September 27, 2019

Proposals to draft comprehensive bill for prevention of acid attacks discussed


September 27, 2019

A consultative meeting was held here on Wednesday to discuss proposals for drafting a comprehensive bill for the prevention of acid attacks and rehabilitation of victims in the Sindh province.

The Acid Survivors Foundation, the Sindh Commission on the Status of Women (SCSW) and the Group Development Pakistan jointly organised the consultation that was attended by women members of the Sindh Assembly, senior police officers, lawyers, women rights activists and media persons.

Prominent among the participants were ASF Chairperson Valerie Khan Yusufzai, SCSW Chairperson Nuzhut Shirin, Sindh Assembly members Rana Ansar, Adeeba Hasan and Farhat Seemi, Deputy Inspector General (criminal investigation) Javed Akbar Riaz, Police Surgeon Karachi Dr Qarar Abbasi, lawyer and rights activist Ali Palh, transgender rights activist Bindiya Rana, Kapil Dev from UN Women, Renuka Swami from the UNFPA, and Mahnaz Rehman from Aurat Foundation.

Participants present in the consultation also offered legal experts’ opinion and discussion that could help to prepare a better draft of the law. Also, the women parliamentarians pledged to support the passing of the Acid Crime Prevention Bill in the Sindh Assembly, and added valued comments to the reviewing process.

Participants discussed the bill’s various points, including monitory relief, an endowment fund for acid victims, accounts and audit, provision of free examination, medical treatment and rehabilitation, photographic evidence, investigation, and duration of the trial, witness protection and legal aid for victims.

After consultation on the bill, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the ASF Pakistan and the SCSW), Government of Sindh, to achieve to contribute towards reducing acid crimes and acid violence in the province, to monitor the implementation of the relevant law, and to achieve the enactment of the Sindh Comprehensive Acid and Burn Crime Bill.

In the letter, the SCSW and ASF have agreed to actively work on advocacy and lobbying for further legislation related to acid and burn violence in order to provide comprehensive protection at the provincial level. They also agreed to organise training/networking workshops for capacity building and sensitisation of parliamentarians/members of assemblies, especially women, in relation with acid and burn violence and gender-based violence.

Identifying, documenting and sharing good practices that may be capitalised upon to address gender-based violence and especially violence against women and girls was also agreed.

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