Mongolia: Implement UPR recommendations to uphold LGBTI rights and protect civil society

25.09.2015

At its UPR adoption, the Government of Mongolia reaffirmed its commitment to constructive engagement in implementing UPR recommendations. ISHR is encouraged by this commitment, in light of Mongolia's Human Rights Council candidacy, and urged quick action on issues of LGBTI discrimination, corporate accountability, and civil society space. 

Courtesy of UN Photo

(Geneva) – At the adoption of the UPR review of Mongolia, ISHR took the opportunity to express appreciation for the openness of the country to a range of recommendations related to the protection of civil society space. ISHR further encouraged the Government to match that openness with concrete action to implement recommendations, especially those aimed at protecting LGBTI persons, including defenders, and promoting corporate accountability.

The Mongolian delegation presented their view on the UPR process today, accepting 150 of 164 recommendations; their overall approach was both cooperative and transparent. As the Ambassador noted, ‘It is the uniqueness and advantage of the UPR as it gives to all states the opportunity to share good practices and discuss one’s challenges in implementation of human rights obligations.’ The National Human Rights Commission also made remarks, and ISHR was encouraged by the acceptance of recommendations to strengthen the NHRC’s independence and effectiveness.

Despite the relatively supportive environment in Mongolia for exercising human rights, challenges do still exist. While it is reassuring that the Parliament will hold a debate on decriminaliaing defamation acts, this must result in action. NGOs have in some cases faced defamation suits for their efforts to expose official corruption or to criticise government policies.

As one of our partner organisations, OT Watch, has noted, Monoglian herders and defenders promoting corporate accountability in the extractives sector face a variety of threats and intimidation, including from corporate actors. The inclusion of concrete steps and measures to protect and support human rights defenders in a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights would be an important step in the right direction.

The operating environment for grassroots organisations is also unduly complicated, as NGOs – regardless of size or income - come under increased pressure from tax law and financial regulation requirements. While these regulations are ostensiblyintended to improve governance, many of the largest economic actors, says OT Watch, could actually receive legal tax breaks under new draft legislation.

‘Regardless of the intention of the laws, we urge the government to ensure that no regulatory measures are used to silence defenders or independent civil society,’ said ISHR Asia focal point Sarah M. Brooks.

In other words, as the Mongolian delegation straightforwardly said: ‘There is still room for improvement.’

In follow up, the Government of Mongolia committed to collaborate with stakeholders, including UN experts, and conduct further study regarding the issues raised. In particular in the context of Mongolia’s candidacy for the Human Rights Council (2016-2018), ISHR encourages deepening the engagement with human rights defenders and civil society to ensure full respect for human rights and to position Mongolia to be a leader in the Asia region.

For more: see video of ISHR's statement to the Human Rights Council on the adoption of the UPR on Mongolia.

For more information, contact Sarah M. Brooks at s.brooks@ishr.ch. You can learn more about the work of OT Watch Mongolia at http://en.minewatch.mn/. 

Category:

Region
  • Asia
Topic
  • Corporate accountability
  • Human rights defenders
Mechanism
  • Universal Periodic Review
Country
  • Mongolia