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Long-awaited acid law set to be approved

A draft law intended to regulate the sale and distribution of acid in the Kingdom was expected to be approved by the Council of Ministers today, an official at the Interior Ministry said yesterday.

Ouk Kimlek,  who as under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior was tasked with drafting the law, said the draft acid legislation, which included 27 articles and six chapters, was expected to be approved following a debate at the Council of Ministers today.

“A person who uses acid to attack  someone will face punishment ranging from 15 years in jail to life imprisonment,” he said, adding that the legis-lation aimed to protect public health and reduce the incidence of acid attacks in the Kingdom.

The long-awaited draft legislation was initially submitted to the Council of Ministers in March.

Ziad Samman, project manager at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, said yesterday the move was a positive step towards preventing, and hopefully eliminating, acid attacks.

“It’s a positive indication that the government is making steps towards addressing this issue through legislation to curb acid violence and regulate the sale and distribution of acid,” he said.

According to figures recorded by the charity, up until last week 20 people had been injured in acid attacks so far this year.

Ziad Samman said it was also crucial that the legislation included provisions requiring that containers storing acid be clearly labelled, in order to prevent accidental burns.

“Accidental burns . . . represent approximately 25 per cent of our register [of acid survivors],” he said.

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