Nicaragua's Comprehensive Law number 779 went into effect in June 2012, but ever since then it has had to withstand attacks from critics who believe it “[breaks] up the family unit.” The law, which outlines the legal rights of people fleeing abusive situations, must be protected as is. Sign the petition and tell the President of the National Assembly to stand behind survivors of domestic abuse.
Amnesty International calls Comprehensive Law number 779 “an important step forward and an essential tool for combating violence against women in Nicaragua .” The law makes “acts of physical and psychological violence against women” criminal offenses and streamlines the legal process involved in obtaining justice for survivors of domestic violence. A key way in which the law protects those fleeing abusive situations is by outlawing mediation as a method of addressing the problem. This particular facet of the law was adopted after multiple studies showed that mediation actually put women at significant risk of continued or even escalated violence. In the words of United Nations Special Rapporteur Rashida Manjoo, mediation systems “[erode] accountability imperatives…and further [foster] norms of impunity.” Although Manjoo was speaking about mediation systems in India, her comments are still poignant and relevant: mediation privileges abusers and puts the safety of other family members at risk.
Opponents of the law's prohibition on mediation accuse it of “breaking up the family unit.” A new provision has been proposed: “crimes with sentences of less than five years (this includes crimes such as serious bodily harm, the abduction of children, and threats) can be dealt with through mediation, instead of the criminal justice system.” This provision could prove disastrous for both the strength of Comprehensive Law number 779 and for survivors of abuse.
Protective laws don't break up families; violence and abuse do. Sign the petition and urge the President of the National Assembly to keep the Comprehensive Law number 779 as it is.
To read and sign the petition letter, click here