Combating Acid Violence in Bangladesh, India and Cambodia

72 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2011

See all articles by Sital Kalantry

Sital Kalantry

Cornell University - Law School

Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Date Written: June 9, 2011


Acid violence involves intentional acts of violence in which perpetrators throw, spray, or pour acid onto victims’ faces and bodies. This report examines acid violence in Bangladesh, India, and Cambodia from an international human rights perspective. Using this framework, it identifies the causes of acid violence and suggests practical solutions to address them. Acid violence is prevalent in these countries because of three related factors: gender inequality and discrimination, the easy availability of acid, and impunity for acid attack perpetrators.

Acid violence is gender-based violence that reflects and perpetuates the inequality of women in society and as such is prohibited by international laws. To eradicate acid violence, governments must address its root causes — inequality and discrimination against women. In the short-term, governments should take the following steps to address acid violence: (1) enact laws that adequately punish perpetrators of attacks and limit the easy availability of acid; (2) enforce and implement those laws; and (3) provide redress to victims, including compensation for health care costs. Bangladesh is the only country among the three countries studied to adopt specific criminal laws and procedures relating to acid attacks and to enact particular laws to curb the easy availability of acid. Neither Cambodia nor India has adopted such legislation. Since Bangladesh adopted these laws in 2002, the rate of acid violence has decreased by 15% to 20%, while reported acid attacks continue to rise in Cambodia and India.

Keywords: acid, acid violence, human rights, Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, inequality, discrimination, women

Suggested Citation

Kalantry, Sital and Getgen Kestenbaum, Jocelyn, Combating Acid Violence in Bangladesh, India and Cambodia (June 9, 2011). Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-24, Available at SSRN: or

Sital Kalantry (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

55 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10003
United States
212-790-0860 (Phone)

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