Especial allocation in budget for rehabilitation of acid survivors demanded

Dhaka, May 19 (ActionAid) – Organisations of acid survivors in the country Thursday demanded the government to ensure especial allocation in the coming national budget that will help the acid victims claim and safeguard their rights as a citizen.

“The 2010-11 fiscal budget was a gender sensitive one, which was meant to promote empowerment and overall development of the country’s women. But, unfortunately noting was clearly mentioned about the allocation for the acid victims in that budget of much expectation,” said Nurun Harah, convener of Shetu Bandhan Gori, an organisation of acid survivors.

The organisation, in collaboration with ActionAid, organised the roundtable on budget allocation for acid survivors in the coming national budget at National Press Club.

Dr Shyamantalal Sen, Chief Coordinator of Burn Unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Dr Abul Hossain, programme director, Multisectoral program on Women and Children harassment, were, among  others, the key discussants at the programme convened by ActionAid Country Director Farah Kabir.

The discussants figured out four key areas safeguard the right of the acid victims and prevent this heinous crime. The key areas are - ensuring proper treatment for the victims; provide legal support; necessary assistance for rehabilitation; and social awareness.

Dr Sen laid importance on the immediacy of the treatment for an acid survivor and also stressed the need for a well-equipped unit at every medical college.

“A good sign is the present government has felt importance. The government has taken necessary measure to open burn unit at every public medical college,” Dr Sen said. “As part of that a Plastic Surgery Unit for Burn patients is going to be set up in Chittagong Railway Hospital,” He added.

The discussants vented their dissatisfaction over poor disbursement of the fund allocated for acid victims in the previous budget and thereupon underscored the need for strengthening government surveillance over the fund disbursement side by side increasing of fund.

“Out of Tk 4 crore allocated in the last budget, a total of Tk 69 lakh only has been disbursed among the acid survivors through Acid Survivors’ Foundation by 65 cheques,” Tahmina Islam, an official of Acid Survivors’ Foundation (ASF) said.