Nicaragua-Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women-Gender-Based Discrimination-February 2020

The Advocates for Human Rights submitted a Suggested List of Issues on gender-based violence in Nicaragua for the 77th session of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Pre-sessional Working Group) in March 2020.  

Widespread domestic violence and gender-based violence against women continue to be serious problems in Nicaragua. Entrenched patriarchal attitudes and negative stereotypes about women and their role in the family perpetuate this problem and leave women without the protection they need. Law enforcement and other governmental bodies perpetuate gender-based violence and domestic violence. Women report that officials close or dismiss their cases because they do not have adequate training on the seriousness of domestic violence. Many women also report that officials reinforce negative stereotypes and attitudes.

Following pressure from grassroots organizers, in 2012, Nicaragua passed Law 779, its first legislation combatting violence against women. The Law included a provision that prohibits the use of mediation in cases of domestic violence. In 2013, however, the National Assembly passed a modified law that reintroduced mediation for first and minor domestic violence offenses. President Ortega also issued two decrees in 2014 that reduced the scope of femicide and shifted responsibility of implementing the law to the Ministry of the Family. Police continue to recommend mediation for serious cases of domestic violence. Mediation, no matter how serious the offense, is a harmful practice for victims because it leads to re-victimization and re-traumatization. Nicaragua’s failure to institute adequate protections for women leaves them vulnerable to violence and abuse.

Suggested Questions:

  • What steps is the Government taking to prohibit the use of mediation in all cases of domestic violence and ensure adequate screening takes place to identify domestic violence?
  • To what extent does the State Party ensure that law enforcement and other members of the justice system appropriately respond to and process cases of domestic violence?
  • What action has the State Party taken to conduct awareness-raising campaigns about severity and dynamics of domestic violence for Government officials, especially justice systems actors?
  • What funding does the Government provide to the Ministry of the Family to facilitate the implementation of Law 779?
  • What training has the State Party provided to law enforcement and other governmental bodies about the harms of mediation and its effect on victims of domestic violence?