News / Asia

Acid Attacks Continue in Cambodia Despite Harsher Punishments

Acid Attacks Continue in Cambodia Despite Harsher Punishmentsi
|| 0:00:00
X
Irwin Loy
September 20, 2012 3:26 PM
In Cambodia, the use of corrosive acid as a weapon to attack and maim is a major problem. The government passed tough new laws targeting acid violence last year, but many survivors are still waiting for justice. Irwin Loy reports for VOA from PHNOM PENH, Cambodia.
Irwin Loy
Here, the use of corrosive acid as a weapon to attack and maim is a major problem. The government passed tough new laws targeting acid violence last year, but many survivors are still waiting for justice.
 
For Som Bunnarith, memories of the day acid violence changed his life forever are as vivid in his mind as the scars on his skin.
 
“When it splashed on me, it felt hot. It even burned through the wood on the floor. I realized it was acid,” said Bunnarith.
 
The attacker was his wife, he said, upset with his late nights out. When he came home one morning, she threw the burning liquid on his face.
 
“My son told me, jump into the river, daddy. I jumped into the river. I was blinking in the water. Then I couldn’t see anything,” said Bunnarith.
 
That was more than 15 years ago. Today, Bunnarith is a peer counselor at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, a refuge where people recovering from acid attacks receive care and rehabilitation.
 
It’s a necessary service. The charity has recorded more than 300 acid attacks in Cambodia, going back to the 1980s. But those are just the ones they know of, said Ziad Samman, the center's project manager.
 
“The reason why it is so disturbing is because the intention is not to necessarily kill the intended victim, but to leave them marked physically and emotionally for the rest of their life,” said Samman.
 
Such attacks continue despite the passage of a tough new acid attack law late last year.
 
At just 18 years old, Koy Sreylak became one of this country’s most recent victims of acid violence.
 
“I just want the court to arrest the girl that threw acid on me, and put her in prison. That's what I want,” said Sreylak.
 
Advocates for acid attacks victims say they’re hopeful such cases will make it to trial under the new law, which carries tough penalties for convicted offenders.
 
But they also want strict regulations on the sale of all acids, including those contained in car and motorcycle batteries, or used for purifying gold and cleaning jewelry.
 
“Only half of the legislation was essentially approved. All of the regulatory aspects rely on a sub-decree, which has not been developed. So at the moment, if the law has two arms, punishment for perpetrators and regulation, only one of it is officially in effect at the moment,” said Samman.
 
While advocates wait for the legislation to be fully implemented, survivors like Bunnarith, are trying to get on with their lives.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid