Acid is a weapon of violence in Uganda, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Cambodia and Bangladesh where people attack for a variety of different reasons ranging from marital to political to business disputes.
According to The Center for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Acid and Burns Violence (CERESAV) there has been a steep rise in the number of cases documented in recent years. Recently, a team of Cincinnatians helped pass a law in Uganda that mandates sanctions, including the possibility of life imprisonment for attackers. It also places tighter restrictions on the sale and distribution of acid.
University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music bassist Will Wagner and others helped start a petition to show support for the Ugandan law that went national. He says he became aware of the problem while performing at a fundraiser for the cause.”I wanted to get involved in something larger than me,” Wagner said. “I wanted to work on a world issue, but I had no idea like most people with that ambition, it’s kind of hard to start.”
The petition really took off when Change.org saw the CERESAV petition. Within 24 hours it went from 1,000 signatures to 100,000. The group says in all of Change.org petition history, it ranked 30th in the number of signatures received, at nearly 300,000.Eventually the Ugandan government passed The Toxic Chemicals Prohibition and Control Bill 2015.
CERESAV is calling for a separate acid bill. This would include stricter punishments with the establishment of a prosecution timeframe like in other criminal cases and more stringent regulation of the purchase, transportation and storage of acid.