Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1987

Mongolia, or the Mongolian People's Republic (MPR) , is a
rigidly controlled Communist state. The Mongolian Communist
Party, called the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
(MPRP) , is the only political party permitted to function.
The leadership of the country is vested in the 7-person
Politburo of the MPRP Central Committee headed by Jambyn
Batmonh. Nominally, the People's Great Hural, or National
Assembly, enacts the basic laws of the country. It meets for
3 days once each year. Between sessions, the Council of
Ministers (Cabinet) issues current legislation.
The Soviet Union dominates Mongolia politically and
economically. The Mongolian State is modeled on the Soviet
system, and key MPRP and government leaders travel often to
Moscow for consultations. The Soviets station approximately
four combat divisions on Mongolian soil. As in the political
arena, Mongolian economic life is shaped by the Soviet bloc:
approximately 95 percent of Mongolia's foreign trade is
conducted with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Soviet
involvement in the Mongolian economy is focused largely on
mining and concentration of nonferrous metals that
subsequently are shipped to the USSR for processing.
Nonetheless, the Mongolian economy is agriculturally based
with an emphasis on livestock raising and associated light
Little information is available concerning government control
or treatment of Mongolian citizens. There are no known
domestic opposition groups, and emigres are few. Although the
United States and Mongolia established diplomatic relations on
January 27, 1987, the United States has not yet opened an
Embassy in Mongolia. Thus, there is limited information on
the human rights situation in Mongolia. Much of the
information that is available comes from the Mongolian
Government itself. The few resident diplomats and occasional
visitors to Mongolia are mainly limited to the capital city
(Ulaanbaatar ) . Travel to other parts of the country is
Mongolian life and society are highly regimented. Few
Mongolians are authorized to travel outside Soviet bloc
countries. Political opposition to the MPRP is not
permitted. Freedoms assured to the individual under the
Mongolian Constitution, including speech, religion,
demonstration, and assembly, can be exercised only to "develop
and consolidate the state system of the Mongolian People's
Republic." In sum, individual civil and political liberties
are highly restricted.
Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
Freedom from:
     a. Political Killing
There is no information available concerning political killing
in Mongolia.
     b. Disappearance
There is no reliable information available concerning
disappearance in Mongolia.
     c. Torture or Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
No information is available concerning this subject.
     d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, Exile or Forced Labor
No information is available on these subjects.
     e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
Current civil and criminal codes stipulate the right of the
accused to judicial process, a legal defense, and public trial
"except as stipulated by law." Closed proceedings are
permitted in the case of crimes against the State. The civil
code places a heavy emphasis on this category of crimes and
the MPRP controls the legal system.
     f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home or Correspondence
The right to privacy of person, home, and correspondence is
provided in the Constitution, but there is no information
available concerning the application of these rights by
Mongolian authorities. Travel, as well as job and residence
changes, are decided in accordance with economic needs as
determined by the State. In determining work assignments,
individual aptitude is also a factor.
Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
     a. Freedom of Speech and Presso
The Constitution provides for freedom of speech but specifies
that the exercise of individual rights must be to "develop and
consolidate the state system of the MPR .
" Actions deemed by
the MPRP to fall outside this guideline would likely result in
arrest and detention. Criticism of the Government is not
tolerated. Control is exercised through various governm.ent
organizations, notably the People's Control Organization,
extending dov/n to the neighborhood committee level. The press
serves primarily as a propaganda tool. Representatives of
non-Communist foreign media are able to travel to Mongolia,
but find it necessary to arrange their trips well in advance.
Academic and artistic life also is tightly controlled in
accordance with government policy. Information flow is
tightly monitored. Mongolian citizens have little access to
books, periodicals, or newspapers not printed in Communist
     b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
Freedom of demonstration and assembly are provided for in the
Constitution, but in practice only government-authorized
organizations may assemble and the only demonstrations allowed
are carefully orchestrated by government authorities.
The Constitution gives workers the right to organize
professional and trade unions, but all are controlled and
directed by the Government to promote its policies. While the
Labor Law does not mention collective bargaining specifically,
it does provide for the settlement of labor grievances by
"Commissions for Labor Disputes" formed by local trade union
councils and people's courts, and composed of equal numbers of
trade union council representatives and enterprise managers.
There is no information on how this has worked in practice.
     c. Freedom of Religion
Freedom of religion exists in theory, but the Government
strictly controls religious activity through an Office of
Religious Affairs attached to the Council of Ministers. All
Buddhist temples, and all but one monastery have been closed
since the 1930's, and, as a result, religion no longer seems
to play any significant part in the lives of most Mongolians.
There are no mosques for the traditionally Islamic Kazakh
minority of 80,000 in western Mongolia. Lamaism, which was a
central force in Mongolian life prior to the establishment of
the Communist Government, has been reduced to one showcase
monastery, the Gandang monastery, with about 100 monks.
Mongolians who visit the Gandang monastery for worship are
mostly of the older generation.
     d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation
Until recent years, few Mongolians traveled abroad, even to
the Soviet Union. Foreign travel usually has been permitted
only for official purposes, but government-sponsored education
abroad has become increasingly common. In recent years, as
many as 40,000 Mongolian youths have gone to various places in
the Soviet Union yearly for short, specialized training
programs. There has also been an increase in the number of
senior scholars pursuing extended study abroad, although most
foreign travel remains restricted to Soviet bloc countries.
There is no known routine emigration from Mongolia.
All Mongolians over age 16 must have internal passports and
must obtain permission from the Security Bureau in order to
travel within the country. Attempts to change jobs or
residences must be approved both by the Security Bureau and
the People's Control Organization.
Although the 1978 Constitution assures the right "to reside in
the territory of the MPR" to foreign citizens, Mongolian
authorities in May 1983 began a systematic expulsion of the
6,000 to 7,000 ethnic Chinese, most of whom resided in and
around Ulaanbaatar. The Mongolian authorities claimed the
expellees had no formal occupation or did not abide by
Mongolian law or both, despite the fact that many of them had
been living and working in Mongolia since the 1950's. In line
with the improvement of Sino-Mongolian relations in recent
years, Mongolia stopped the arbitrary expulsion of ethnic
Chinese in 1985; today Mongolia's Chinese population numbers
less than 2,000. A bilateral consular treaty regarding
treatment of their nationals was signed by Mongolia and China
in July 1986.
Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Gonvernment
The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has a
monopoly on political power. There is no mechanism by which
the citizenry as a whole can effect transitions in leadership
or changes in government. The MPRP is established on the
Soviet model with a narrow pyramid of power topped by Party
General Secretary Batmonh. Lower-ranking members of the MPRP
have no real ability to influence the decisions of their
superiors. Elections are held at regular intervals, but only
one candidate is listed for each office, so the choice is to
vote for him or cross his name out. The 1986 election to the
Great Hural brought into office a large group of younger
officials in their 40*s. In the 1986 election, 69.2 percent
of all the Deputies were elected to the Great Hural for the
first time. Many elections purportedly result in a 99.9
percent turnout and the sole candidate regularly receives the
entire vote. While there is no officially espoused policy of
minority disenf ranchisement , only a few members of minorities
occupy elite party or government positions.
Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights
Mongolia acceded to the United Nations Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights in 1976. However, the Government has
consistently followed the Soviet human rights policy and
practice, whether or not it is consistent with the Covenant.
There is no known organization dedicated to the protection of
human rights in Mongolia.
Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Language, or Social Status
There appears to be little discrimination in education on the
basis of race, sex, or religion.
Universal franchise and equal rights for women are official
policy. According to government statistics, the percentage of
women in the work force rose from 30 to 48.5 percent between
1960 and 1984. From 1951 to 1986, the number of women
Deputies elected to the Great Hural, which has 370 Deputies,
increased from 51 to 92. In 1987 elections to local Hurals,
33.9 percent of the 15,967 Deputies were women. Women
constitute 30.3 percent of the MPRP membership and 49.8
percent of trade union membership. Few women occupy positions
of responsibility in the Government or in party structures,
although women have served on the 8-person Presidium, the
acting legislative body between sessions of the Great Hural.
It is reported in Mongolian media that women hold high
professional positions in institutions such as schools,
research centers, and hospitals.
The Mongolian Labor Law sets a minimum work age and maximum
work hours for all workers, and exhorts state enterprises to
observe work safety requirements. The Law proscribes work for
children under age 16, although those age 15 may work if
allowed to by the local trade union committee. Those under 18
are statutorily prohibited from doing arduous work or from
working in dangerous areas such as mining. The workday is
prescribed as 8 hours for adults, 7 hours for those age 16-18,
and 6 hours for those age 15. No information is available on
the implementation of the Labor Law.