Amnesty International Report 2015/16 - The State of the World's Human Rights - Mongolia

In December, a new Criminal Code was passed, fully abolishing the death penalty once it goes into effect in September 2016. Impunity for torture and other ill-treatment, particularly by law enforcement officials during interrogations to obtain “confessions”, remained widespread. Residents of urban areas continued to be at risk of forced eviction. Discrimination and harassment against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people remained of concern. Journalists often practised self-censorship for fear of prosecution. Human rights defenders and journalists continued to raise increased difficulties in carrying out human rights work.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Impunity persisted for many allegations of torture and other ill-treatment committed by law enforcement officials. Since the closure in 2014 of the Special Investigation Unit, complaints of torture against law enforcement officers were investigated by police themselves and not an independent body, raising concerns regarding impartiality. Only certain officials tasked with investigation within the justice system were considered liable under Article 251 of the Criminal Code, thereby potentially allowing others suspected of extracting forced testimonies to escape accountability. Complaints of mental torture were dropped more often than those of physical ill-treatment because of alleged difficulties in establishing the facts.

Unfair trials

Regular instances of denial of pre-trial rights continued to be reported, such as the right to freedom from torture and other ill-treatment, as well as the rights to access health care, families and lawyers. Instances were reported of police and prosecutors using deception and intimidation against suspects and their family members.

Housing rights – forced evictions

Residents of ger districts (areas without adequate access to essential services) of the capital, Ulaanbaatar, claimed that they were under constant fear of forcible eviction from their homes. Problems were exacerbated by the lack of transparency in city development plans and lack of clear prohibition against forced evictions in law or policy. Some residents of Bayanzurkh district in Ulaanbaatar claimed they were harassed and threatened into signing development plans and contracts to turn over their land.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

LGBTI people continued to face widespread discrimination. According to an LGBTI rights organization, police officers were often reluctant to intervene. Their responses to LGBTI people alleging discrimination revealed deeply discriminatory attitudes, and they often became abusers themselves by further harassing individuals.

Freedom of expression – journalists

Defamation laws, as outlined in Mongolia's criminal and civil laws, were used against journalists reporting content deemed offensive, including corruption and the activities of legislators. Many journalists and independent publications practised a degree of self-censorship due to fear of legal reprisals.

Death penalty

In December a new Criminal Code removing the death penalty for all crimes was adopted by the State Great Hural (Parliament). At least two individuals were sentenced to death, including one who was reported to have been 17 years old when the crime was committed. One of the sentences was commuted to 25 years’ imprisonment on appeal.1

  1. Mongolia: Open letter on the death penalty (ASA 30/2490/2015)