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Argentina: Law on Protection of Women Amended to Include Provisions on Political Violence

(Feb. 26, 2020) On November 20, 2019, the Congress of Argentina adopted Law 27533, which amended several provisions of Law 26485 of 2009 on the Comprehensive Protection of Women, to sanction any behavior that weakens, prevents, or limits the participation of women in public affairs on equal basis with men.

The new Law’s amendment of article 4 of Law 26485 provides that any gender-based action or omission based on an unequal relationship of power, which directly or indirectly affects a woman’s life; freedom; dignity; physical, psychological, sexual, or economic well-being; political participation; or personal safety constitutes violence against women.

Law 27533 also amends article 5 of Law 26485 to establish that undermining, annulling, preventing, hampering, or restricting the political participation of women in violation of their right to engage in a political life free from violence and to participate in public and political affairs on equal terms with men constitutes political violence against women.

Finally, Law 27533 adds to article 6 of Law 26485 the provision that intimidating, harassing, dishonoring, discrediting, persecuting, bullying, or threatening women so as to prevent or restrict the development of their political life or access to political rights and duties is considered public political violence.

Under the provisions of the new law, street harassment of women is now considered violence against women.

Actions considered violence against women are subject to civil and criminal liability under articles 19–35 of Law 26485.

Background to Argentina’s Laws on Political Violence Against Women

The foundation for Argentina’s laws on political violence against women was laid by the adoption in June 1994 of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women, better known as the Convention of Belem do Para.

In 2004, the States Parties to the Convention agreed to create the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belem do Para Convention in order to monitor the implementation of the Convention in the State Parties.

In October 2015, the Follow-up Mechanism in its Declaration on Political Harassment and Violence Against Women called for “[promoting] legislation for the eradication of political violence and harassment against women.”

One year later, the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism adopted its Inter-American Model Law on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women in Political Life, in which the Committee recognized that “political violence against women constitutes a serious violation of the human rights of women and is a major threat to democracy.” The Model Law was adopted with the purpose of “assisting in the process of harmonization of national legal frameworks with the Belém do Pará Convention, on the issue of violence against women in public life.”