Whether there have been crackdowns on democratic opposition forces (individuals and groups), past and present, since the July 2000 re-election of the Communist Party; whether there are reports that current or past opposition figures have faced harassment, arrest, detention or other types of mistreatment since the July 2000 elections (or immediately preceding the elections) [MNG37068.E]

No reports of opposition members having faced mistreatment since the July 2000 elections could be found among in the documentary sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

The following information on the political and human rights situation following the 2000 election in Mongolia was provided by a professor of Political Science at Principia College in Elsah, IL. The professor, who specializes in Mongolia, has travelled frequently to Mongolia since 1995 and spent three weeks in the country after the 2000 parliamentary election.

As best I can tell, there has been no systematic or reoccuring crackdown on the democratic opposition following the 2000 parliamentary election. I have not heard of, nor received any reports of harassment, arrest, detention or other types of mistreatment, outside of the channels of the normal and regulated judicial system.
I add the last clause as a caveat for parliamentarians have been arrested and/or investigate for corruption and malfeasance in office. Undoubtedly, there is some level of political (rather than legal) motivation in pursuing these prosecutions.
On the other hand, one of the reasons that the voters rejected the Democratic Union (the summer 2000 term for what had been called the Democratic Coalition, the mix of the two leading democratic parties plus others) was the apparently rampant corruption, some involving the infamous proposal for a gambling casino. The Democratic Union was ineffective in combatting corruption. This ineffectiveness was highlighted by a number of dramatic incidents, including the controversy surrounding the casino project. The economic disaster at the nation's major copper mine is another noteworthy case apparently involving massive corruption, kickbacks and people protected from prosecution.
Perhaps the most important incident was the brutal assassination in October 1998 of Zorgit, the young Minister of Infrastructure, who many predicted would quickly become Prime Minister. Zorgit had a reputation for challenging corruption and those behind-the-scenes. He was knifed to death while on an evening stroll. No one has been arrested. Many people have been accused of having an interest in his murder.
Some supporters of the Democratic Union asserted to me that the MPRP won the 2000 election through massive fraud. Other Democratic Union supporters credit the MPRP with running a better, more attractive campaign (including endorsements by rock bands). Certainly, the MPRP appeared more attractive to the voters, given the feeling of growing, uncontrolled corruption; the inability of the Democratic Union to develop and carryout an effective economic reform campaign; the apparent government instability (as the Union kept changing prime ministers). Although most people I talked to discounted the impact of the several seasons of summer droughts and record snow storms, there was tremendous loss of livestock and the government was overwhelmed the the crisis.
After observing several elections and talking with many Mongolians of various political persuasions, I believe that both sides--the MPRP and the Democratic Union--are committed to functioning democracy and economic freedom. For example, there is a growing powerful group of young entrepreneurs in the MPRP that advocate economic reform and are benefiting from the economic freedom. The MPRP willing turned over parliamentary control in 1996 and expected the same courtesy from the Democratic Union in 2000. The Union has to carefully reevaluate its policies and its personel.
I suggest two avenues for monitoring political human rights issues. First, as with the murder of Zorgit, there have been a few attacks that could be seen as political motivated. Certainly, certain members of a rather active free press have made these assertions. Second, prosecutions for corruption of former ministers and parliamentarians could have political components. However, some of these investigations began while the Democratic Union was still in power.
While I have not been in Mongolia for nearly a year[...], based on my contacts and monitoring of the media, I continue to believe that Mongolia still has a free and active democratic system. Nevertheless, it has to face some tremendous problems.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Professor of Political Science at Principia College, Elsah, IL. 4 June 2001. Correspondence.

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

Keesing's Records of World Events 2000


Resource Centre country file: Mongolia


Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Asian Studies Virtual Library



Human Rights Defender on the Frontline

Human Rights Watch

Journal of Central Asian Studies

Le Monde diplomatique

Mongalian Foundation for Open Society

Rule of Law Institute in Mongolia

United Nations in Mongolia

Search engines including: