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An Adivasi woman from Bihar employed as a “domestic servant” in the UK has been awarded nearly £184,000 in compensation in one of Britain’s first cases of caste discrimination. Permila Tirkey, a Christian, was reportedly paid as little as 11p per hour for working 18-hour days at the Milton …Read More »
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Domestic violence and sexual abuse is going unreported within Britain’s South Asian communities because of a “culture of shame”, according to new research. A study, conducted by academics Dr Karen Harrison from Hull University and Dr Aisha Gill from the University of Roehampton, found that many first generation immigrant women …Read More »
Thirteen-year-old Sumaila has no time to go to school. From six in the morning until 11 at night, she works with her mother in their one-roomed home, painstakingly pasting tiny fake gemstones onto fabric for the garment factory nearby. “I don’t much like doing this work. It hurts my …Read More »
Victims of child sex crimes from ethnic minority backgrounds suffer more than their white counterparts and their attackers should accordingly be punished more severely, a judge at the Court of Appeal has ruled. Mr Justice Walker said today that British-Bangladeshi Jamal Muhammed Raheem Ul Nasir was handed a longer sentence …Read More »
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The Bangladeshi Prime Minister has warned that radical British Bengali Muslims are fuelling extremism in her country – the world’s third most populous Muslim nation. In an interview with the Guardian, Sheikh Hasina said that UK-based jihadis of Bangladeshi origin are encouraging those within the Diaspora as well as locals …Read More »
India has one of the highest rates of acid violence in the world, yet a backlog of criminal cases means it can take up to a decade for courts to reach a judgment and most victims receive no compensation, legal experts say.
Globally, there are as many as 1,500 recorded acid attacks each year with more than a third of those cases estimated to occur in India alone.
However, many attacks go unreported because victims are too afraid of reprisals to come forward, they said in a report.
The majority of victims are women, attacked over domestic or land disputes, a rejected marriage proposal or spurned sexual advances, the report said.
Attackers frequently target the head and face to maim, disfigure and blind, said Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), which commissioned the report.
Victims are left with lifelong physical and psychological scars.
Despite the severity of the crime, acid remains easily available in India where it is used in manufacturing and the processing of cotton and rubber, despite a 2013 Supreme Court order to curb sales.
"Acid is still very, very easily available and a litre of acid can be purchased for as little as 50p - and can be bought in most towns and villages in India," ASTI Executive Director Jaf Shah told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
India made acid attacks a specific criminal offence in 2013, and the Supreme Court this year ruled that victims should receive free medical treatment and minimum compensation of 300,000 rupees (£3000).
Analysing 55 cases of acid violence in India, the report, based on research done in 2014, found that on average it takes between five and 10 years for a legal case to be concluded.
"(This) is in itself pretty astonishing, and damning in terms of how the judiciary and investigation procedures work in dealing with acid attack cases in India," Shah said.
Compensation was awarded in only nine cases, and ranged from 50,000 rupees (£500) to 5 million rupees (£50,000).
The study examined laws relating to acid violence in Britain, Cambodia, Colombia and India.
Besides India, the highest rates of acid attacks are in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Pakistan, Nepal and Uganda.
Poongkhulali Balasubramanian, pro bono coordinator at J. Sagar Associates, which compiled the study, said problems in India prosecuting acid violence cases were related to a creaking justice system rather than the nature of the crime.
"They are problems which ail any large jurisdiction or country with a large population, which is choking with the amount of cases," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"The fact that these cases are prosecuted through the same system means they end up suffering from the same kind of delays and poor investigation."
The solution is for more courts to be set up, particularly courts specialising in violence against women, combined with stronger witness protection programmes, Balasubramanian said.
Faster justice would also lessen the chance of evidence being tampered with and out-of-court deals struck between victim and the accused, she added.
The report recommended that countries should consider adopting a system used in Britain, which allows victims to sue for compensation independent of the criminal prosecution system.
In response to the scale of the violence in India, the group, "Make love not scars", has launched a campaign to raise awareness of acid violence.
It has posted a makeup tutorial with Reshma Bano Qureshi, who local media say was left severely scarred and missing an eye after her brother-in-law threw sulfuric acid on her face.
In the YouTube video, viewed more than 1 million times since being uploaded a week ago, Qureshi demonstrates how to get "perfect red lips" before pointing out that red lipstick is as easily available as concentrated acid.Read More »