Subscribe via E-Mail

Get all of our news delivered fresh to your inbox every morning! Just tell us your name and where to send it using the form below.

PS – We hate spam too. We don’t sell or share our list with anyone, and we never send commercial email.




luxe
Friday, January 29th, 2016  |  USD: Buy 531.29 / Sell 543.92
20 years

Colombia passes tougher law to tackle high rates of acid attacks


Natalia Ponce de Leon listens to a question during a news conference at El Tiempo newspaper in Bogota April 16, 2015. Ponce de Leon is one of 900 victims, 540 of them women, who have been attacked with acid in Colombia. She suffered injuries to her face and body an her story is told in a book featured at the 28th annual international book festival in Bogota.   REUTERS/Jose Miguel Gomez

Natalia Ponce de Leon listens to a question during a news conference at El Tiempo newspaper in Bogota April 16, 2015. Ponce de Leon is one of 900 victims, 540 of them women, who have been attacked with acid in Colombia. She suffered injuries to her face and body an her story is told in a book featured at the 28th annual international book festival in Bogota. REUTERS/Jose Miguel Gomez

By Anastasia Moloney

BOGOTA, January 19th, 2016 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Acid attack survivors in Colombia hope a new law that punishes perpetrators of the crime with up to 50 years in prison will act as a deterrent in a country with high rates of acid attacks.

Until now most Colombians convicted of acid attacks have received prison sentences of up to six years, and some criminals have been allowed to serve their sentences under house arrest.

The law, which came into force on Monday, defines acid attacks as a specific crime and increases the maximum sentence to 50 years in jail for convicted offenders. It also aims to ensure acid victims receive better state medical care.

“With this law, people will think twice before committing this act,” Colombian acid attack survivor Natalia Ponce de Leon told local media after the law came into force.

Although acid attacks are most common in South Asia, Colombia reported one of the highest rates per capita in the world in 2012.

Since 2004, 526 women and 361 men have been attacked with acid across Colombia, according to the country’s National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences.

The new law was spearheaded by and named after Ponce, who was severely disfigured when a stalker hurled acid at her in 2014.

The sulphuric acid melted the skin on her face, neck, abdomen and legs, and left a quarter of her body burnt. The attack shocked the South American country.

The 34-year-old has undergone about 15 operations to reconstruct her face using artificial skin from the Netherlands.

Ponce said a key challenge is ensuring state health authorities provide the medical care acid attack victims are now entitled to under the new law. Victims often undergo months of reconstructive surgery and psychological therapy.

“We don’t want to see more people destroyed,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said at the presidential palace when signing the law on Monday.

Doctors and activists say many acid attacks are committed by jealous, vindictive husbands and boyfriends. They say Colombia’s macho culture condones violence against women and blames them for it.

Acid attacks survivors are often poor women with little education and a long history of domestic violence, women’s rights groups say.

About 1,500 acid attacks are reported globally each year, with women being the victims in 80 percent of cases, according to London-based charity Acid Survivors Trust International, which says the actual number is probably much higher since most victims are too scared to speak out.

While common in South Asia, acid attacks also occur in the Middle East and Latin America, where the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are hotspots for the crime.

 

 

costa rica news

ATTENTION: If you are seeing this message,


Advertisement


Get our news delivered fresh to your inbox every morning.

Click here to subscribe to our email list. We hate spam too and never send commercial email.

Like us on Facebook and receive our news in your timeline

Popular Content