Cambodia Drafts New Law to Curb Acid Attacks
Friday, April 30, 2010 11:25 AM

The ready and cheap availability of caustic chemicals in Cambodia has increased the misuse and mismanagement of acid. The rising frequency of acid attacks, culminating in 11 cases between December 2009 and January 2010, has finally caught the attention of authorities. The government has drafted a new law regulating the sale and use of chemicals. Moreover, the new legislation provides for stronger punishment against perpetrators, most of whom would receive life sentences. Victims hope that the new law would instill a greater sense of fear among the potential perpetrators and thus prevent the occurrence of such crimes.


This new law focuses on survivors as well, establishing a state-run medical center and providing improved medical care and social integration programs for victims. The creation of an acid foundation whose goal would be raising funds in order to provide skills and capital for survivors has also been considered.


However, many argue that even if the final draft is approved by the National Assembly and becomes law, its enforcement will prove challenging. Local rights' and survivors’ groups stress the fact that illegal out-of-court settlements speak to the court system’s inherent weaknesses and the government’s inability to ensure police enforcement of legislation.


Compiled from: CAMBODIA: Strict penalties planned for acid attacks, IRIN (28 April 2010).