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Women’s rights in retrograde: understanding the contentious politics of gender violence law in Nicaragua

Neumann, Pamela (2017) Women’s rights in retrograde: understanding the contentious politics of gender violence law in Nicaragua. LSE Human Rights Blog (24 Mar 2017). Website.

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Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a new law reducing the penalty for some forms of domestic abuse from a prison sentence to a fine. Although the legislation has been roundly criticized by international human rights observers, Russia’s move to decriminalize certain forms of domestic violence is not unique. For the last several years, a similar situation has been unfolding in Nicaragua, where a comprehensive law addressing gender-based violence (Law 779) passed in 2012, has been systematically weakened via legislative action and presidential decree. At the time, women’s organizations viewed Law 779 as a culminating achievement following decades of advocacy, but today that law is little more than papel mojado (wet paper). For the last five years, I have been closely following the trajectory of Law 779 as part of my broader research examining women’s experiences with the legal justice system in Nicaragua. The story of how a landmark law against gender-based violence was undermined in Nicaragua is a cautionary tale about the precariousness of women’s legal gains in political environments in which conservative religious actors wield substantial influence. It may foreshadow some of the challenges that women’s movements in other Latin American countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Peru could face in defending women’s rights given the wave of new center-right governments in the region.

Item Type: Online resource (Website)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author(s)
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 10:47
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 09:06

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