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Governance and Management

Dr. Iftekharuzzaman

Former Chairperson
Acid Survivors Foundation

2011 marked twelfth anniversary of emergence of Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF).As we look back, we can take pride in what the organization has accomplished over the years. ASF has achieved many milestones that have resulted in significant reduction in the number of acid attacks over the years. ASF's relentless advocacy initiatives engaging multiple stakeholders including the Government have led to unprecedented institutional and policy reforms. Bangladesh is the only country to have enacted two laws in 2002 - one to provide for exemplary punishment against perpetrators of acid violence, and the other to establish effective control over the availability of acid. Following this example, activists in India, Pakistan and Cambodia are advocating for acid control laws to be introduced in their respective countries. ASF's unique model combining preventive action with highly sensitive range of support services to the survivors is being replicated internationally. ASF has been able to provide quality burn care services to survivors in its hospital and is continuously searching for ways to improve these services. I would like to recognize the vital role that government, NGOs, wider civil society and the media have played in the last twelve years to help ASF address the issue of acid violence. This collaboration is an excellent example of how private, public, and non-governmental sector sectors can join forces to battle social injustice. ASF's advocacy has led to the establishment of National Acid Control Council (NACC) and District Acid Control Committees (DACCs) which are also examples of good practice in Government-NGO joint efforts. In the coming years ASF will continue to explore ways to strengthen such partnerships.

Though our achievements are many, there remain a number of challenges that we continue to face. Failure to bring perpetrators to justice is a crucial challenge and it prevents survivors to fully come to terms with the tragedy and move on with their lives. An effective and accountable justice system is fundamental to protecting survivor's rights and ASF will continue to work in this area to ensure that survivor's have access to their rights. Another challenge is to work with the government to ensure that public money allocated for the purpose of survivor's rehabilitation is disbursed to real target beneficiaries and utilized properly for their sustainable rehabilitation. To cap it all, a continued challenge for ASF is to ensure that acid victims, especially women and children become fully participating members of society with equal rights and that they are able to live with dignity.

ASF would not be where it is today without the generous cooperation and support of the government, international donors, corporate bodies, many individuals, NGOs and media who have supported our cause nationally and locally. I take this opportunity to acknowledge their contribution on behalf of ASF's Board of Trustees and express our deepest gratitude to all supporters, partners, and stakeholders. I also take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to my colleagues in the ASF board for their valuable contribution and unfaltering commitment. I would like to commend our Executive Director for her outstanding leadership as well as the management team and other members of the staff for their tireless work and devotion.

Last but not least, words cannot express the admiration and respect I have for my dear survivors, I am truly humbled be their courage and strength. They remain an inspiration for me personally and for ASF. Each of them is a shining example of determination to live a normal life with heads held high. As the pages that follow here show, the extraordinary courage and resilience of the survivors have been the largest contributing factor to ASF's success.