The Nicaraguan authorities must guarantee the full implementation of a landmark law that defines crimes of violence against women, Amnesty International said today.
The new Integral Law against Violence against Women provides a route for women to access justice and protection from violence and to hold perpetrators to account.
However, since the law, also known as Law 779, was passed last year it has been consistently threatened by opponents who assert it is anti-family and anti-men, and that it is responsible for breaking up families.
Esther Major, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Nicaragua, said:
“The violence perpetrated against women and Children's rights is what breaks up families, not legislation designed to help victims escape from violence and hold abusers to account.”
“If the Nicaraguan authorities are serious about preventing violence from breaking up families, then Law 779 should be fully supported, resourced and implemented. Attempts to undermine the implementation of this law must be stopped.”
“The problem here is that less than a year since the law came into effect, and before it has had a chance to be properly implemented, this landmark text is under attack.”
Under the new law, mediation between victims of violence and their abusers is prohibited. However, in a worrying development, some magistrates have recently been quoted as saying that mediation may be acceptable in cases of violence against women where the abuser receives a sentence of five years or less.
Esther Major said:
“There are sound reasons why the law prohibits mediation in cases of violence against women. Where women are subjected to violence, there is an imbalance of power in the relationship, and conciliation can make victims more vulnerable to abuse and violence in the future.
“The authorities must guarantee women and girls access to legal procedures that will bring justice in criminal and civil cases, and which will secure their safety.”