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Acid-throwing attacks on the rise.

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- At least 16 females including a 9-month-old child were severely burned in acid-throwing attacks and two other women died from acid burns in Bangladesh in a single week in March, according to the Acid Survivors Foundation. Men splash or pour acid on young women and girls as a form of retribution. If the women survive, they are hideously scarred.

Reasons cited for the most recently reported incidents included failure to pay dowries, refusals to marry,, and a land dispute, according to Monira Rahman, executive director of the foundation.

Bangladesh's government has made the possession of the most caustic acids a punishable offense and has imposed strict penalties on those convicted of using acid in acts of violence, but activists say very few cases are ever prosecuted.

Rahman said acid-throwing Incidents were on the rise and urged people from all walks of life to come forward to resist such heinous acts. She also urged the government to enforce existing laws.

The survivors foundation opened a 16-bed hospital in January dedicated solely to treating acid-attack victims. Rahman said the hospital is full and the foundation is overseeing the care of 12 other females in various local hospitals. For more information, see www.acidsurvivors.org.
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Title Annotation:World
Author:Coday, Dennis
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:9BANG
Date:Apr 16, 2004
Words:204
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