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Human rights in Mongolia

Amnesty International Report - May 2011

  • Background
  • Impunity
  • Death penalty
  • Torture and other ill-treatment
  • Housing rights
  • Legal developments
  • Head of state: Tsakhia Elbegdorj
    Head of government: Batbold Sukhbaatar
    Death penalty: retentionist
    Population: 2.7 million
    Life expectancy: 67.3 years
    Under-5 mortality (m/f): 49/40 per 1,000
    Adult literacy: 97.3 per cent

    The President announced a moratorium on the death penalty in January. Law enforcement officials continued to commit human rights abuses with impunity. Impunity for torture and other ill-treatment remained widespread.

    Background

    In November, Mongolia's human rights record was assessed under the UN Universal Periodic Review. The UN Committee against Torture held its initial review of Mongolia since ratifying the Convention in 2000.

    Mongolia's Working Group of the Parliament Sub-committee on Human Rights, which was set up in 2009 to investigate allegations that law enforcement officials subjected people to torture and other ill-treatment, unfair trials and illegal detention during the 1 July 2008 riot, made no further progress and did not meet in 2010.

    Impunity

    Complaints against law enforcement officials rarely resulted in prosecution or criminal convictions. The government stated that 108 complaints of torture or other ill-treatment were made to the Prosecutor's Office, of which 38 were investigated. The authorities failed to prevent, investigate and punish attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

    Two years after the 2008 riot, the Prosecutor's Office confirmed that they would not prosecute four senior police officials and 10 police officers accused of authorizing and using live ammunition which killed four people. The decision failed to uphold Mongolia's obligations under human rights law to ensure that arbitrary or excessive use of force, including lethal force, is punished as a criminal offence.

  • In October, Bat Khurts, Chief Executive of Mongolia's National Security Council, was arrested at Heathrow Airport in London, UK, on a European arrest warrant. Bat Khurts was wanted in connection with the kidnapping in France of Mongolian national Enkhbat Damiran. Enkhbat Damiran was abducted in 2003 and taken via Germany to Mongolia where he was tortured. Bat Khurts was being held in a UK prison, awaiting extradition to Germany. Following news of his arrest, Enkhbat Damiran's brother reported that people believed to be supporters of Bat Khurts carried out retaliatory attacks against him and threatened a journalist reporting on the story.
  • Death penalty

    On 14 January, the President announced a moratorium on the death penalty, commuting all death sentences of those who appealed for clemency to 30-year prison terms. Information on the government's use of the death penalty remained a state secret. A bill to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at abolishing the death penalty, was submitted to Parliament in October. In December, Mongolia voted in favour of a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.

    Torture and other ill-treatment

    The Special Investigation Unit charged with investigating complaints against public officials lacked resources and funding to fulfil its mandate. In November, the UN Committee against Torture urged the authorities to amend the Criminal Code in line with international standards. It called for the introduction of systematic video and audio recording of all interrogations, in places where torture and other ill-treatment were likely to occur. The Committee also urged the authorities to ensure that alleged perpetrators of acts of torture are investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted, convicted and punished.

    Housing rights

    The ger districts (informal settlements) in Mongolia suffered from a lack of access to basic services, including adequate housing, infrastructure, sanitation and drainage. Air and soil pollution caused by coal-burning stoves for heating and inadequate services, including waste management, contributed to serious health risks, such as respiratory disease and hepatitis.

    Legal developments

    In July, Mongolia became the second state to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

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