EXTENDED BULLETIN 2/2002 - NOVEMBER 2002
I. SCOPE OF DOCUMENT
1.1 This bulletin has been produced by the Country Information & Policy Unit, Immigration & Nationality Directorate, Home Office from information obtained from a variety of sources.
1.2 The bulletin has been prepared for background purposes for those involved in the asylum determination process. The information it contains is not exhaustive, nor is it intended to catalogue all human rights violations. It concentrates on the issues most commonly raised in asylum claims made in the United Kingdom.
1.3 The bulletin is sourced throughout. It is intended to be used by caseworkers as a signpost to the source material, which has been made available to them. The vast majority of the source material is readily available in the public domain.
1.4 The bulletin will be placed on the IND Website (http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/).
2.1. The Republic of Mongolia, known as Outer Mongolia, and to its natives as "Blue Mongolia" is located in central Asia, with the Russian Federation to the North, and the People's Republic of China to the South and East. [4b] Capital city is Ulaanbaator (literally, "red hero"), pop. 773,700 (February 2000). The country's geography ranges from the Gobi Desert in the South, the Great Eastern Plains - the main pasture area for grazing, lake districts and mountainous areas. [4b]
2.2. The northern border between Mongolia and the autonomic Tuva republic of Russia is an area of relative lawlessness, with cattle rustling, trafficking in women and children, and illegal border crossing. [4e] Mongolia is divided administratively into 21 provinces (aimag / aymag). [4h includes a map of Mongolia]
2.3. The Mongolian population of about 2.4 million (2,382,500 according to the February 2000 census) quadrupled from half a million at the beginning of the 20th century. The former communist regime encouraged population growth, particularly in the 1960s. 70 per cent of the population is under 35, and the average age nationally is 21 years old. 47 per cent of the population live as nomads.[2m] One third of the population live in Ulaanbaator. [4b][4d]
2.4. There are around 6 million Mongolian speakers worldwide. They are mainly spread over three countries - 2 million in Mongolia; 3.5 million in China (2.5 million in Inner Mongolia, with another million scattered through the western provinces of China, down to the Vietnamese border); and 0.5 million in Russia. [4a]
2.5. Around 95 per cent of people within the Republic of Mongolia are Mongol speakers, the predominant ethnic group being the Khalkha Mongols, who constitute around 77.5 per cent of total population. A number of small communities scattered throughout the country, such as the Dariganga, speak dialects of standard Mongolian. The largest single ethnic minority group are Kazakhs, who constitute 4 per cent of the population. Kazakh is an official literary language in Mongolia. There are also about 3000 Russians either as temporary workers or residing in Mongolia [4a][5e][6c][6e].
2.6. Mongolians traditionally like to be known only by one name. [2a][2d][2e]
2.7. The Mongolian economy is heavily dependent upon agriculture, in the form of livestock herding, and mineral deposit extraction. [5at] [9b]
2.8. Mongolia was hit by exceptionally harsh climatic conditions over 1999 and 2000. In summer 1999 it suffered the worst drought in the century, followed by an exceptionally harsh winter, with unprecedented snowfall. Nomadic tribes' livestock were wiped out completely, and hardship was exacerbated by the swift post-1990 transition to a market economy, with little by way of social welfare infrastructure left. [2d][2e][2g] A second bad winter in 2000 / 2001 has exacerbated the situation. [5y]
2.9. Since 1991, the Mongolian economy has been assisted by loans from developed countries and international organisations, for use in the country's transition to democracy and a market economy. [5aj] Of the US $ 2.6 bn promised over the years, by April 2001, $1.9 bn had been used up: over 37 percent has been used in infrastructural development. [5aj]
2.10. In May 2001, further financial aid was promised from a Swiss / Russian governments joint initiative. [5al] In October 2001, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also announced further low interest rate loans worth US $ 40 million over a three year period. [2l]
2.11. Russia and Mongolia have been developing closer ties; in March 2002, the Russian Prime Minister M. Kasyanov and other Russian ministers secured a number of agreements with the Mongolian government, mainly on trade and healthcare fronts. [5ar] In 2002, the Mongolian Government has been improving trading by agreement with a number of neighbouring and regional countries. South Korea and Mongolia have formalised work permit regulations for Mongolian workers to work in South Korea, raising permits from 900 to 3,200. [5as] (See below, Freedom of Movement)
2.12. The number of unemployed people increased over the late 1990s to peak at 41,855 in early 2001. There has been some reversal of this trend in 2002, with a figure of 40,321 for February 2002. [8a] The Government has attempted a reversal of unemployment by embarking on major infrastructure projects, such as the "Millennium Road" of upgrading 2,668 km of road by 2015. [5at] The Government has been concerned in late 2002 with an attempt to regulate the informal economy (bartering, the black market) and smaller businesses into the infrastructure of the main economy. [5ba]
3.1. Before 1911, Mongolia was the Manchu province of Outer Mongolia, and was a republic under the influence of Mongolian princes. [5at] Between 1917 and 1921, Mongolia was involved in a spill-over of the Russian Revolution, with the White Guards (the anti-Communists) hanging on as a military force in Mongolia until 1921.[6a] From 1921, with creation of the Mongolian People's Party, the Communists gained ground in Mongolia, culminating in the Communist declaration of the Mongolian People's Republic in 1924. [5at] [6a] [9b] By historical anomaly, Taiwan (Republic of China) continued to recognise Mongolia formally as a Chinese province until recently.
3.2. From 1924 to 1990, the Mongolian People's Republic was a communist state, dominated by the MPRP (The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party). Up to 1990, the party followed a strong Stalinist line. The collapse of the Soviet Union and consequent termination of Soviet subsidies brought down the government in March 1990, and the party reformed as a political party in a democracy, winning the 1992 elections but suffering defeat in 1996. [2c][6e]
IV. STATE STRUCTURES
4.1. The Constitution was adopted on 13 January 1992, and came into force on the 12 February 1992. [9b] The Constitutional title of the country is the Republic of Mongolia. [9b]
4.2. The current political system is of a democratic republic. There are legislature elections to the parliament, the grand Khural, comprising of 76 seats. The Prime Minister is the leader from the party with the most seats. Only 3 of the 20 political parties active in Mongolia were represented in the Khural following the July 2000 elections. [1a][1b]. In August 2000, the incoming MPRP government brought a programme of governmental reform for the Khural's approval, and duly passed unopposed.[5j][5l]. The President is elected directly in presidential elections; the most recent were in May 2001. [2i].
4.3. Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) The communist MPRP was the official opposition since 1996, when it suffered defeat in the face of a coalition of liberal parties. On 3 July 2000, in an election judged generally free and fair by international observers, the MPRP was returned to office, winning 72 seats out of 76. The landslide victory was a reaction to the hardship wrought by four years of economic experimentation, social welfare collapse, and disastrous weather conditions. The party is communist in name but does not intend to go back to one party rule, and has campaigned on a ticket promising slowing down privatisation, and restoring education and some social welfare.[1b][2b][2c]
4.4. In October 1999, the ruling Democratic alliance (MNDP) was rocked by the sentencing of three MNDP MPs on corruption charges and bribing officials regulating casinos. The scandal prompted a split in the party, and nine members left in January 2000 to form a new party, appropriating the name Mongolian Democratic Party (MDP) - the old early 1990's name for Zorig's United Party. After its defeat in the July 2000 elections the MNDP was exercised in securing the release of one of its former MPs, detained without charge. [5c][5d][5k]
4.5. A Mongolia expert contacted by the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board in June 2001 had not heard of any reports of 'harassment, arrest, detention or other types of mistreatment, outside the channels of the normal and regulated judicial system'. [3q]
4.6. The MPRP's Natsagiin Bagabandi was elected president in May 1997. He was re-elected in the May 2001 presidential election, receiving 57.95% of the votes to defeat his main rival, Radnaasumbereliin Gonchigdorj of the Democratic Party. Mr Bagabandi's re-election, on a platform of economic revival, has united control of parliament and the presidency under the MPRP. [2g][2h][2i]. A MPRP victory at a by-election in January 2002 has been held to show that the MPMR have still retained voter confidence. [5at]
4.7. A key political issue in late 2002 has been the transition of land rights from state to private ownership. Land distribution was taken up as a political issue by the Democratic Party, who organised demonstrations to back their petition to the Government. [5az] The Government duly responded to the petition. [5bc]
4.8. The Ministry of Justice is separate from the police and other prosecuting authorities. Prosecutors are appointed by the president through the office of the Prosecutor General. The judicial reform of 1993 abolished the separate military and railway courts. [3h] The death penalty is retained. [9b]
4.9. A report by the Sydney (Australia) based Mongolian Centre for Human Rights Development, published in June 2000, criticises the Mongolian judicial system as being corrupt, with poorly paid judges regularly accepting bribes. There is little public legal aid, and the services of the 1200 lawyers in Mongolia are beyond the means of the majority of the population. In April 2001, the General Court Council demanded the resignation of several judges it accused of incompetence, misdemeanours and wrongful use of the law. Since the start of the year, a disciplinary committee had taken action against a number of judges. Changes to the judicial procedure were being discussed in May 2001. [5h][5w][5x]
4.10. The Mongolian Foundation for an Open Society (MFOS) in conjunction with the Constitutional and Legal Policy Institute (COLPI) of the Open Society Institute in Budapest, has been involved in a number of reforms of the legal and law enforcement systems. [6i] Their most successful efforts in 2000 were in improving access to legal materials through a new law library, and helping to improve police training. [6i]
4.11. The security forces are divided into the military services, responsible for external security, and the General Intelligence Agency (GIA), which is responsible for internal security (see below). A parliamentary committee oversees all the security forces. The defence forces, which have been considerably reduced since 1998, are under the control of a civilian Minister of Defence. Mongolia has signed agreements on defence co-operation with seven countries and it now takes an active part in UN peacekeeping activities. [1b][5r].
4.12. General Intelligence Agency. The GIA was until recently known as the State Security Agency (SSA) and was originally the Central Intelligence Agency. The head of the GIA holds ministerial status and reports directly to the Prime Minister. [1b][3k].
4.13. An expert source in 1998 described the Communist era organisation of the police, as was up to 1994, as being headed by a Chief Director of Police, who was necessarily a member of the MPRP. The police were part of a wider service, the Department of State Security, dealing with all internal security matters. [3e]
4.14. The police are divided into two structures: a national organisation and a provincial (aimag) organisation. The national organisation has two sections - a "central police department" and a criminal police agency. It publishes a widely read tabloid newspaper called "Vice and Virtue". Under legislation passed in 1991, police (and other security officials) are prohibited from joining political parties. [3e]
4.15. Chinese official news agency reports state a 2.9 per cent year-on-year increase in the period January to May 2000 of the crime rate. Organised crimes, reportedly, increased by 113 per cent. [5g] The Mongolian government figures released for up to February 2002 indicate that the crime wave has been reversed, with a fall of 4.9 percent on the previous year's figures. [8a]
4.16. The US State Department report for 2001 notes "...while reports of such actions diminished, the police in rural areas occasionally beat prisoners and detainees, and the use of unnecessary force in the arrest process is not uncommon." [1c]
4.17. NGOs have complained of cases of torture used by police interrogators in pre-trial detention centres, particularly the Gants Hudag detention centre.[6k] A Government investigation, via the State Prosecutor General's Office, was launched in September 2001 into the allegations, and reported back to the Great Hural (Parliament), and cases of torture were admitted. [6k]
Prisons and Prison Conditions
4.18. The total prison population is around 6,600. Pre-trial detention can last up to 36 months, but in the year 2000 the number of suspects detained over six months decreased. Prisons are overcrowded and facilities are generally poor. In July 2000, an amnesty was introduced, releasing non-violent first-time convicts serving sentences of up to five years. About 700 prisoners were released, with sentence reductions of up to 20 - 30 per cent for other prisoners. [1b][5i]
4.19. Disease is common, with one report putting deaths in custody at 1,500 over seven years. However, prison deaths overall, and in particular from tuberculosis, decreased by 50 percent among prison inmates between 1999 and 2000 due to a reform programme instigated in 1997. The infection rate of TB or swift decline in existing tuberculoses cases is still held to be high, especially in the pre-trial detention facilities. [1c]
4.20. The government does permit prison visits by human rights monitors, such as Amnesty International, on occasion. [1c] The issue of prison conditions has also been taken up by the (Mongolian) National Commission on Human Rights, with the commission member J. Dashdorj announcing that there is a "host of cases" of wrongful arrest and detention, in due course leading to five cases of wrongfully-held prisoners contracting TB. [5aq]
4.21. The central prison service is developing a programme of devolving financing, turning prisons into self-financing units. In 1998 it was reported that only one prison, in Amgalan, had taken the 1996 policy on board with any success. Amgalan prison had provided work places for 500 inmates, out of its population of 4,000 prisoners. [5aa]
4.22. Infectious diseases. Mongolia is apt to suffer from periodic outbreaks of infectious diseases, both in the animal and human populations. Early 2002 has been particularly severe, with a recorded 22 percent increase in all infectious disease cases compared with early 2001. [8a]
4.23. Animal infections are highly significant in the pastoral nomadic existence, and may act as reservoirs of infection for human infections. Significant animal epidemics have included a foot and mouth disease (FMD) epidemic in March 2001 which involved rigidly cordoned areas, throwing the healthcare system into emergency measures as large parts of the population were cut off from hospitals and other healthcare centres. [5ai] Likewise, cholera and anthrax scares in 1996 brought in emergency disinfection and quarantine of humans. [5z]
4.24. The Mongolian authorities announced in 2000 that they were worried about plague infection sources amongst the wild mammal population, particularly marmots. [5ad] The same news article raised the authorities' concern that the main Hospital of Infectious Disease in Ulaanbaatar is located next to the main market in the city. [5ad]
4.25. Hepatitis is a concern, but in February 2002, Mongolian scientists announced the local development of a new anti Hepatitis B vaccine. [5ap]
4.26. Tuberculosis is a particular problem in the Mongolian prison system, with an estimated 75 to 80 percent of the 1,580 prisoner deaths in the period 1991-99 as a result of TB. [5ab]
4.27. AIDS / HIV. The government in January 2001 indicated that it was concerned by the growth in AIDS / HIV infections and would assist any NGO in tackling health promotion in this area. It was reported there were over 1,500 NGOs existing in Mongolia in 2001. [5ag]
4.28. In May 2001, the Health Minister sent an appeal out to Mongolian youth to be aware of AIDS / HIV. [5ak] In July 2001, Medicine Sans Frontiers, the international health NGO, completed a two year project on AIDS / HIV prevention in Mongolia. [5an]
4.29. Healthcare system. Has been held to be in crisis by the Minister of Health, as reported in January 2001. [5ah] The minister noted inadequate co-ordination of activities of medicine supply, medical insurance, clinics, and obsolete medical equipment. [5ah]
4.30. The Mongolian government is looking to regional neighbours for healthcare cooperation, such as with Vietnam in July 2001 [5ao] and Russia in March 2002 [5ar].
4.31. The government provides free, compulsory education up to the age of 16 years, but children particularly males, rarely complete their education before being drawn into work. [1c][9b]
4.32. In October 2002, the Government announced a programme of "denationalisation" of education, culture and scientific research to begin in 2003. Initially, it will start with the higher education sector, where national institutions will be permitted to be self-managing and rural, regional institutions will merge managerial responsibilities. [5aw]
V. HUMAN RIGHTS
VA. HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES
5.A.1. The government since 1998 has generally respected the human rights of its citizens. The latest U.S. State Department report knows of no reports of political prisoners, political killings or politically motivated disappearances, nor does the government use forced exile. However, the murder of Sanjaasurengiin Zorig, the Minister of Infrastructure on 2 October 1998, is suspected to have been politically motivated. The investigation is still continuing. [1b][5b][5f][5k]
Freedom of Speech and the Media
5.A.2. The Mongolian media is held to be free, and is often outspoken in criticism of the government. [2m] Commentators have pointed to the dissevering and expansion of the press and other media as the main triumph of Mongolia's transition towards a democratic state. There is much legislation protecting the media from Government interference.[6n] From the Constitution to individual laws, the country has developed an under-girding that promotes a robust and free press. [1c]
5.A.3. Newspapers and other print media. 'There are many newspapers, but circulations and editions are mostly small. State-owned newspapers were privatised only recently, others are published by political parties.' [2m] The news agency Montsame is the official, state-owned news agency, [2m] which runs an English language website [6m].
5.A.4. Electronic media. There is a central state-run television station (Mongolteleviz), and a state radio station (Mongolradio), but there also a number of local, private media channels. [2m]
5.A.5. Academic freedom. 'The government respects academic freedom'. [1c]
Freedom of Religion
5.A.6. Sources state that traditionalists in Mongolia regard Buddhism as being the "natural religion" of Mongolia. Post-Communist governments have contributed to the restoration of several Buddhist sites, but the source states that this is because they are important religious, historical and cultural assets to the country. [1c]
5.A.7. The Government permitted and welcomed a visit from the Dalai Lama in November 2002. [5bd]
Freedom of Assembly & Association
5.A.8. The US State Department report for 2001 states "The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and association and the Government generally respects those rights in practice." [1c]
5.A.9. There is a minimum wage, originally 25,000 Tugrik (about £12) a month, which is less than the cost of a decent standard of living. The minimum wage applies within both public and private sectors and most employees earn more than this minimum. [1c] (increased in Aug / Sept 2002)
5.A.10. There are no specific laws against trafficking people. [1c] However, there are indications that Mongolia is both a source country and transit point for trafficking, with reports of some women and teenagers working in the sex industries in Asia and Western Europe. [1c] The Government, police and NGOs are beginning to focus on the issue, and are aware of trafficking scheme that basically involve duping middle-class girls, aged between 14 and mid-twenties, with study and work offers abroad. [1c] One NGO has started training police and local officials to develop strategies to deal with the issue. [1c]
Freedom of Movement
5.A.11. A news report of December 2000 talked of a Mongolian "brain drain" whereby Mongolian students were not returning back to Mongolia upon completion of their studies. [5ac]
5.A.12. There has been rationalising of management of border posts between China and Mongolia, with the transfer of a border post complex to the Mongolian side. The agreement was signed in October 2002. [5ax]
5.A.13. In October 2002, the Government announced changes to the passport system, with the issuing of new passports to prevent forgery. The new passports were announced as having been devised to incorporate international standards on anti-fraud measures. The new passports are to be issued from November 2002 onwards, with holders of current (old-style) passports invited to change their passports if they wish. [5av]
5.A.14. There is an estimated 15,000 illegal Mongolian workers in South Korea who face a deadline for automatic deportation in March 2003. [5au] (See above, Economy)
VB. HUMAN RIGHTS - SPECIFIC GROUPS
5.B.1. Women have equal rights under the law and this provision is respected. However, domestic violence against women remains a serious problem. There are few statistics, most information being anecdotal. Some statistics indicate that 70 per cent of cases of family abuse are related to alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is widespread, with 20,000 people estimated to be alcoholics, 80 per cent of whom are young men and the remaining 20 per cent women. [3f] A new family law came into force on 1 July 1999, setting out alimony arrangements and parents' rights. There are approximately 36 women's groups, and the National Centre Against Violence (NCAV) has made progress in providing hot line services, shelters and training for police dealing in family situations. [1b] The NCAV has document abstracts and contact details recorded in English on the UNIFEM East and South East Asia website. [6j]
5.B.2. The Mongolian women's groups are amongst the most successful and popular campaigning for social change. The Liberal Women's Brain Pool (LEOS) is very active and widespread.[2a][6b] Women for Social Progress (WSP) is another group, rapidly gaining support from men as well as women. Women are relatively independent, have a high level of education compared to men, and head a large number of households relative to comparable countries. [2a][6b]
5.B.3. The Government has ratified a number of major international conventions regarding women's rights. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women is foremost amongst the government monitoring bodies. [5af][5ag] In its combined third and fourth periodic reports, published January 2001, many problems were highlighted but general progress in terms of legal protection was emphasised. [5af][5ag]
5.B.4. Women make up a large segment of the work force, and have been disproportionately affected by the decline of state sector employment. [3f]
5.B.5. Marriage customs traditionally include common-law marriages as common practice and without stigma, with couples living in a marriage-like state but without formal ceremony or registration. Fathers in common-law relationships are held to be responsible for their children; women in these relationships are accorded full property rights, and children full inheritance rights. Inter-ethnic and inter-religious marriages are permitted by law, but rarely happen. [3d] For kinship, marriage customs, and family structure, refer to source [6a].
5.B.6. The government is in principle committed to improving child welfare, but has very few resources to spare. Child abuse, often associated with parental alcoholism, is a problem.[1a][1b][4c].
5.B.7. Mongols have had a long tradition of support for communal raising of children. As for children outside or inadequately cared for by the community, NGO groups vary in estimates of street children, ranging from 400 to 2000, many of whom live in the sewers under the streets of the capital. Government estimates of street children, given in January 2001, was of a maximum of 1000. [5af] Adoption rules are set out in Article 7 of the Family Law 1973. [3m]. The Government permits foreign charities to operate independent orphanages and supplement child welfare. [5bb]
5.B.8. General welfare initiatives. Begun in March 1996, the Programme for Poverty Alleviation was reported in June 2001 to have assisted 30,000 families, with 13,000 small projects being carried out to a cost of US $ 12.7 million. A second stage in the programme will be carried out between 2001 and 2006. [5am]
5.B.9. Ethnic minorities constitute a very small proportion of the population. There are no reports of inter-ethnic conflict. The main minority is the 120,500 strong community of Kazakhs (alt. sp. Khazaks), who are traditionally Sunni Muslims. Most live a nomadic lifestyle in the western side of the country, in the province of Bayan-Olgiy, but there are also Kazakhs in Choybalsan to the east [6e]. Akin to Uighurs of China, they speak a turkic language, and in Mongolia, use a Cyrillic ("Russian") script. [9a][5ay]
5.B.10. "Bayan-Olgiy is a largely Kazakh administrative unit, where the Kazakh language is used in the primary schools and in local administrative offices... Kazakhs of the Altai traditionally have hunted from horseback with trained golden eagles on their wrists and greyhounds slung across the saddle--both to be launched at game- and pictures of eagle-bearing Kazakhs are common in Mongolian tourist literature. Mongol is taught as the second language and Russian as the third in Kazakh schools, and bilingual Kazakhs appear to participate in the Mongolian professional and bureaucratic elite on an equal footing with Mongols. Kazakhs also make up a disproportionate number of the relatively highly paid workers in the coal mines of north-central Mongolia; this situation may indicate either limited opportunities in the narrow valleys of Bayan-Olgiy Aymag or government efforts to favor a potentially restive minority, or both." [6a]
5.B.11. Between the Mongols and the Kazakhs, there are traditional prejudices and nationalist sentiments on both sides; though one source has stated that there are no reports of specific tension between the two groups. [9c] A research report for the Kazakhstan government in the mid-1990s highlighted that the Kazakh minority in Bayan-Olgiy Aimag felt that the aimag was poorly served in terms of social welfare, but expressed hope for future improvement. [6d]
5.B.12. Relations between the Mongolian and the Kazakhstan Governments are good. In recent years, thousands of ethnic Kazakhs from Mongolia have relocated to Kazakhstan, where they have been granted citizenship. [5n][5p][5q][6c] In June 2000, it was reported that 30,000 Kazakhs from Mongolia were living in Kazakhstan awaiting Kazakhstani nationality, with 1,882 having been granted citizenship on 21 June 2000. [6e] The Kazakhstan Government is following a policy of open invitation to all ethnic Kazakhs to migrate to Kazakhstan - President Nazarbayrev has stated in November 2002 that every ethnic Kazakh is welcome to return to their homeland. [5at] (But has set a quota of 5,000 citizens per year [6e], mindful of the financial concerns raised in the mid-1990s research report [6d]) Over 1.5 million ethnic Kazakhs worldwide have reportedly returned to Kazakhstan in recent years. [5at]
5.B.13. Chinese. Relations with China were poor in the 1970s and early 1980s; Mongolia criticised China's treatment of its Mongolian citizens and was in turn accused by Beijing of seeking to expel its estimated 7,000 Chinese community [6e]. One source states that in 1984, the Mongolian Government did in fact expel 1,700 Chinese, but did not bother nationalised, integrated ethnic Chinese citizens. [6a] The animosity may account for the absence of any reference to a Chinese minority in the 1989 census. [6a][6c] One more recent source indicates that there are 35,000 Chinese in Mongolia [6c]. Mongolian police are reported to have arrested illegal immigrants from China (including ethnic Mongolians), some of whom were carrying false Mongolian passports [5m].
5.B.14. The Russian community is composed of both residents and temporary workers, and is separate in as much as they are accorded voting rights in Russian elections. [5e] In the 1980s, there was a large population of Soviet engineers and other specialists working under contract in Mongolia, plus an estimated 55,000 Soviet troops, but they were always viewed as "helpful foreigners" and not included in Mongolian census figures. [6a] "Although since 1920, many Russians have settled in the Tannu Tuva and Buryat Mongol regions of Siberia across the border from northern Mongolia, there has been no Russian migration to, and settlement in, Mongolia." [6a] Agreements reached in March 2002 between the Russian and Mongolian governments mean that, in theory, nationals of each country resident in the other country can use the other country's healthcare system. [5ar]
5.B.15. The traditional religion of the majority group, the Khalkhas, is Buddhism. The Kazakhs are traditionally Sunni Muslim. During the Communist era, religious affiliation and practice was forbidden. The 1998 Constitution however changed the situation to permitting the right to practice a religious faith. Reports suggest that up to a million Mongolians are atheists [6c][6f], but Buddhism has been re-establishing itself since the 1990s. [3h][6e] Of the 150 registered places of worship, 90 are Buddhist, 40 Christian, 4 Baha'i and one is a Muslim mosque. [1b]. There are no reports of religious detainees or prisoners [1c].
5.B.16. Traditional faiths, practices and Mongolian Buddhist faith and practice. Before Buddhism was introduced into Mongolia, the Mongol tribes practised animistic rites involving shamans. Shamanism is still practised by a few Mongol tribes (Darkhad, Tsaatan, Hotgoit, Buryat, Hamnigan, Urianhai, and some Halh) and by a number of non-Mongol groups (the Siberian Tungus).[6h] No information has been found yet (as of April 2002) as to whether there is tension or societal discrimination by Buddhist Mongols towards tribes who practise Shaman based faiths.
5.B.17. There is no indictation that there is an institutional persecution or discrimination against shaman-based faith adherents. For instance, Dr Sendenjaviin Dulam, an expert in Darkhad tribal shamanism, heads a centre for the study of Mongolian nomadic culture at the Mongolian National University, indicating academic freedom to study shaman-based groups. [6h] Religious group registration as mentioned in the US State Department reports [1a] [1b] [1c] refers to groups operating from registered places of worship, and thus tribe-based shamans seem to be exempt.
5.B.18. Christians. In 1998, there were estimated, by an evangelical protestant organisation, to be up to 7,000 Christians. A Russian Orthodox church was also in operation by 1997. After 1998, evangelical groups have claimed "tens of thousands of Mongolians have joined Christian churches".[3I][6e] The new Christian converts have faced some difficulties in practice from the authorities, mainly in relation to the registration of places of worship. [1b][3h][6e]
5.B.19. In 2000, there was one case of alleged persecution of an ethnic Kazakh who converted to Christianity. [6l] The man, aged in his thirties, claimed that he had been sentenced, in 1999, to 13 years imprisonment in a labour camp for his conversion. Translators and other authoritative human rights monitors in May 2000, dismissed the documents presented as forgeries, and the charge against the Mongolian authorities as having no basis. [6l]
5.B.20. Baha'i worshippers have experienced similar problems. However, there are no reports of people being detained due to their religion [1b]
Conscientious Objectors & Deserters
5.B.21. In February 1998, alternative military service was introduced for Mongolian males between the ages of 18 and 25. As well as service with the armed forces, conscripts may serve with civil defence units, construction troops, natural disaster response teams, border troops support or work with humanitarian organisations. By February 2000, Mongolian males between 18 and 25 still had to do one years' service. Conscripts were notified of their conscription through their local government unit (sum). Penalties for evasion are not known. [3a][3j][9a]
5.B.22. Although the Constitution does not penalise homosexuality per se and there are no specific laws banning homosexual activity, gay groups believe that Section 113 of the penal Code, which prohibits "immoral gratification of sexual desires", may be used to punish homosexual acts. Limited anecdotal evidence suggests that homosexuals have been detained and questioned about their contacts and it is believed that the police keep files on known homosexuals. There is societal distaste for same sex relationships, with one expert in March 2000 stating that most homosexuality remains deeply hidden and that known homosexuals would quite likely face harassment. A social and advocacy group called Tavilan (Destiny) was launched in April 1999 and subsequently received official recognition. Tavilan, which currently had 130 members, has opened an office and switchboard in central Ulaanbaatur. It organises safe sex courses and social events. [3c][3n][4f]
5.B.23. Inner Mongolia activists. China has announced that there are now over 4 million ethnic Mongolians in its northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Mongolia and China have a pact not to interfere in each other's internal affairs. The Inner Mongolian People's Party (IMPP) is a pro-independence movement founded in the USA in March 1997. It has campaigned against China's 50 year "occupation" of Inner Mongolia. [3g][5u].
REFERENCES TO SOURCE MATERIAL: ANNEX A
1. US State Department publications:-
1a. 1999 Country report on human rights practices: Mongolia, publ. 25 February 2000
1b. 2000 Country report on human rights practices: Mongolia, publ. 26 February 2001
1c. 2001 Country report on human rights practices: Mongolia, publ. 4 March 2002
2. General news sources:-
2a. 28 July 2000, BBC news website, Women steppe out in Mongolia (accessed 25 August 2000)
2b. 3 July 2000, BBC news website, Mongolia's ex-communists in landslide win (accessed 25 August 2000)
2c. 14 July 2000, CNN.com website, Experience is what counts: why the communists returned to power. (accessed 30 August 2000).
2d. 16 February 2000, BBC news website, Harsh winter hits Mongolian livestock...(accessed 8 September 2000).
2e. 14 March 2000, BBC news website, Mongolian herdsmen face starvation (accessed 8 September 2000).
2f. 28 June 2000, BBC news website, Alarm over Mongolia food crisis (accessed 8 September 2000).
2g. 3 May 2001, BBC news website, Country profile: Mongolia (accessed 22 May 2001).
2h. 20 May 2001, BBC news website, Mongolia's ex-communist leader faces voters (accessed 22 May 2001).
2i. 21 May 2001, BBC news website, Mongolia's ex-communists re-elected. (accessed 22 May 2001).
2j. 22 May 2001, CNN.com website, Mongolia's re-elected leader pledges stability, growth. (accessed 22 May 2001).
2l. 2 October 2001, BBC news website, IMF approves Mongolia loan programme. (accessed 5 April 2002).
2m. 26 February 2002, BBC news website, Country profile: Mongolia (accessed 5 April 2002).
3. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board:-
3a. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG31137.E, 22 February 1999, Alternative military service...
3b. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG31444.E, 18 March 1999, Reports since 1997 linking the police and/or government officials to corruption and/or brutality...
3c. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG31446.E, 26 March 1999, Treatment of homosexuals by the authorities...
3d. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG31445.E, 26 March 1999, Contemporary marriage customs (including inter-ethnic and inter-religious)
3e. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG32674.E, 13 September 1999, Structure of the police (and police complaints) (1997- September 1999)
3f. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG32673.E, 13 September 1999, Situation of women... (1994 - September 1999)
3g. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG32672.E, 15 September 1999, (Inner Mongolia activists)...
3h. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG33050.E, 27 October 1999, The treatment of converts to Christianity from Islam...
3i. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG33049.E, 27 October 1999, The activities of Christian churches... (1998-1999)...
3j. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG33675.E, 14 February 2000, The military draft...
3k. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG33709.E, 7 February 2000, The State Security Agency...
3l. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG34738.E, 5 July 2000, The Real Democratic Group (RDG)... (1994-2000)...
3m. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG36390.E, 24 January 2001, Child adoption...
3n. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG35918.E, 14 December 2000, The treatment of homosexuals...
3o. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, CHN30179.E, 8 October 1998, China: Government suppression of dissidents in Inner Mongolia...
3p. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, CHN20107.E, 21 March 1995, China: Treatment of the Mongols (in Inner Mongolia)...
3q. Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, REFINFO, MNG37068.E, 1 June 2001, Whether there have been any crackdowns on democratic opposition forces... since July 2000 elections...
4. General information sources:-
4a. Mongolia today, Where do Mongolians live? (accessed 25 August 2000)
4b. Mongolia today, The land of nomads (accessed 25 August 2000)
4c. Mongolia today, Dark side of Mongolia, part one (accessed 25 August 2000)
4d. Mongolia today, Census 2000; how many Mongol? (accessed 25 August 2000)
4e. Mongolia today, Unquiet Northern Border (accessed 25 August 2000)
4f. The International Lesbian and Gay Association, World Legal Survey, Mongolia entry (accessed 29 August 2000)
4g. The national anthems.com website (accessed 22 May 2001)
4h. Map of Mongolia (Political) 1996, produced by US Central Intelligence Agency; University of Texas web site (accessed 23 May 2001)
5. Reuters Business Briefing:-
5a. 31 August 1999, Quest Economics Database, Mongolia: people in power
5b. 30 September 1999, Mongolian E-mail Daily News, (BBC Monitoring Service), Police investigate murder of Democratic Movement leader Zorig.
5c. 21 October 1999, Reuters News Service, Mongolian court jails three MPs for corruption.
5d. 31 January 2000, Mongolian E-mail Daily News, (BBC Monitoring Service), Nine Mongolian National Democratic Party members leave to form new party.
5e. 28 March 2000, RIA news agency, Moscow, (BBC Monitoring Service), Russian citizens are electing their president at five polling stations in Mongolia.
5f. 12 May 2000, Mongolian E-mail Daily News, (BBC Monitoring Service), Premier describes reform process.
5g. 6 June 2000, Xinhua News Agency, Rate of crime in Mongolia rises.
5h. 20 June 2000, Age (Melbourne), Full democracy still a dream for repressed Mongolians.
5i. 21 July 2000, Reuters News Service, Reuters News Service, Mongolia to free more than 700 convicts in amnesty.
5j. 4 August 2000, Mongolian E-mail Daily News, (BBC Monitoring Service), Mongolian parliament adopts bills on government reform.
5k. 16 August 2000, Mongolian E-mail Daily News, (BBC Monitoring Service), Opposition party members gather to demand release of detained ex-MP.
5l. 30 August 2000, Mongolian E-mail Daily News, (BBC Monitoring Service), President's veto on law provisions rejected by committee.
5m. 6 January 1995, Reuters News Service, Mongolian police arrest 22 Chinese illegals.
5n. 22 June 2000, Khabar TV (BBC Monitoring Service), Kazakhstan: About 2,000 emigrants from Mongolia granted Kazakh citizenship.
5o. 3 November 2000, Beijing Youth Daily (Sinofile Information Services), Poverty keeps 100,000 school-aged children out of school - a tragedy.
5p. 23 November 2000, Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency (BBC Monitoring Service), Kazakhstan: Kazakh-Mongolian accords signed.
5q. 28 December 2000, Khabar TV (BBC Monitoring Service), Kazakhstan: Kazakh president grants citizenship to ethnic Kazakhs from Mongolia
5r. 13 March 2001, Xinhua News Agency, Mongolia develops military co-operation with foreign countries.
5s. 11 April 2001, Mongolian E-mail Daily News, (BBC Monitoring Service), Mongolian paper reports on rural education.
5t. 11 April 2001, Mongolian E-mail Daily News, (BBC Monitoring Service), Parliamentary social policy committee discusses employment.
5u. 13 April 2001, Xinhua News Agency, Inner Mongolia has over 4 million Mongolia people.
5v. 19 April 2001, Montsame web site (BBC Monitoring Service), Mongolian premier submits bill to improve foreigner registration.
5w. 27 April 2001, Mongolian E-mail Daily News, (BBC Monitoring Service), Chief judicial body accuses judges of "incompetence".
5x. 2 May 2001, Mongolian E-mail Daily News, (BBC Monitoring Service), Parliamentary legal committee discusses draft law revisions.
5y. 17 March 2001, Economist, Winter storms are clobbering Mongolia again.
5z.17 August 1996, Xinhua News Agency, Cholera spreads, outbreak of anthrax reported.
5aa. 21 January 1998, E-mail daily News, Ulaanbaatur, (BBC Monitoring Service), Prison has some success in becoming self-financing.
5ab. 4 March 1999, IPR Strategic Business Information, TB kills prisoners.
5ac. 27 December 1999, E-mail daily News, Ulaanbaatur, (BBC Monitoring Service), Newspaper reports Mongolian "brain drain".
5ad. 5 September 2000, E-mail daily News, Ulaanbaatur, (BBC Monitoring Service), Minister interviewed on nation's health.
5ae. 5 December 2000, Xinhua News Agency, (BBC Monitoring Service),
5af. 30 January 2001, United Nations, Unemployment, poverty, family planning discussed as Women's Anti-discrimination Committee considers Mongolia's report on convention compliance (Part 1 of 2)
5ag. 30 January 2001, United Nations, Unemployment, poverty, family planning discussed as Women's Anti-discrimination Committee considers Mongolia's report on convention compliance (Part 2 of 2)
5ah. 31 January 2001, E-mail daily News, Ulaanbaatur, (BBC Monitoring Service), Minister briefs press on healthcare problems.
5ai. 21 March 2001, E-mail daily News, Ulaanbaatur, (BBC Monitoring Service), Capital under quarantine as foot-and-mouth confirmed.
5aj. 24 April 2001, E-mail daily News, Ulaanbaatur, (BBC Monitoring Service), Over 70 per cent of international aid already used.
5ak. 2 May 2001, Montsame website, Ulaanbaatur, (BBC Monitoring Service), Mongolian premier appeals to young people to fight spread of AIDS
5al. 12 May 2001, ITAR-TASS World Service, Russia, Switzerland discuss aid for Mongolia, other states.
5am. 8 June 2001, Montsame website, Ulaanbaatur, (BBC Monitoring Service), Poverty alleviation programme aids about 30,000 families.
5an. 3 July 2001, Montsame website, Ulaanbaatur, (BBC Monitoring Service), Doctors without borders set up national trainers' team to fight AIDS in Mongolia
5ao. 27 July 2001, Vietnam News, Vietnam and Mongolia look to boost cooperation.
5ap. 1 February 2002, E-mail daily News, Ulaanbaatur, (BBC Monitoring Service), Mongolia develops anti-B virus vaccine
5aq. 1 March 2002, E-mail daily News, Ulaanbaatur, (BBC Monitoring Service), Official concerned at lack of human rights for Mongolia's prisoners.
5ar. 28 March 2002, The UB Post website, (BBC Monitoring Service), Mongolian daily on Russian Prime Minister Kasyanov's visit.
5as. 9 October 2002, E-mail daily News, Ulaanbaatur, (BBC Monitoring Service), Mongolia discusses export of labourers with South Korea.
5at. 9 October 2002, Quest Economics Database, Mongolia - country profile, key indicators, key facts, and review.
5au. 12 October 2002, The Korea Times, Mongolians chase the 'rainbow'.
5av. 15 October 2002, E-Mail Daily news, Ulaanbaatar, (BBC Monitoring Service), Mongolia issues new passports to prevent forgery.
5aw. 21 October 2002, E-Mail Daily news, Ulaanbaatar, (BBC Monitoring Service), Mongolia to "denationalise" education, culture and science.
5ax. 23 October 2002, E-Mail Daily news, Ulaanbaatar, (BBC Monitoring Service), China's Inner Mongolia signs transfer of authority over border post over to Mongolia.
5ay. 23 October 2002, Khabar television, Almaly, (BBC Monitoring Service), Kazakh President addresses world congress of Kazakhs.
5az. 4 November 2002, Montsame website, Ulaanbaatar, (BBC Monitoring Service), Democratic Party supporters stage protest over land ownership.
5ba. 7 November 2002, Montsame website, Ulaanbaatar, (BBC Monitoring Service), Mongolia holds conference on informal economy.
5bb. 12 October 2002, The Washington Times, Mongolian orphans get love and a future.
5bc. 7 November 2002, E-Mail Daily news, Ulaanbaatar, (BBC Monitoring Service), Mongolian Government responds to protesters' petition on land rights.
5bd. 7 November 2002, Los Angeles Times, Thousands flock to hear Dalai Lama preach.
6. Miscellaneous Reports:-
6a. Dr Lee's website Mongolia (note: an amateur South Korean website, comprehensive but dated general information) at http://drlee.org/mongol/mongolia4.html
6b. Liberal Women's Brain Pool - LEOS, web site (accessed 8 September 2000).
6c. Ethnologue web site (accessed 22 May 2001).
6d. AZIYA, Almaty Kazakh No 48, Nov 1993 p4., In association with FBIS (Eurasian) Reports, On Bayan-Ologey Aymag and its Kazakhs at http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~corff/im/Landeskunde/kazakh (accessed 14 November 2002)
6e. Kazakh Report, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Reports, news archive, 23 June 2000 (accessed 12 November 2002) at http://www.rferl.org/bd/ka/reports/archives/2000/06/230600.html
6f. Adherents web site (accessed 22 May 2001).
6g. Law of Mongolia on Legal Status of Foreign Citizens (Lynch, Idesh & Mahoney).
6h. The Mongolian Shamans' Association, at www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/8226/msa.html (accessed 15 March 2002)
6i. Constitutional and Legal Policy Institute (COLPI) of the Open Society Institute in Budapest, website, Focus on national foundations - Mongolian Foundation for an Open Society at http://www.osi.hu/colpi/files/N4e-Mong.htm (accessed 14 November 2002)
6j. UNIFEM East and South East Asia, Mongolia, dated 2 November 2001, at
http://www.unifem-eseasia.org/Resources/EVAWmaterial/VAW-NGO/mongolia.htm (accessed 12 November 2002)
6k. Asian Human Rights Commission, reporting News of Liberty Center, Ulan-Bator Mongolia - use of torture in Gants Hudag detention center at http://www.rghr.net/mainfile.php/0404/154/ (accessed 14 November 2002)
6l. Human Rights Without Frontiers website, Mongolia gives local Christian 13 year old (sic) prison sentence (07.04.2000); Mongolian translators discredit "religious detention" documents (12.05.2000) at http://www.hrwf.net/newhrwf/html/mongolia2000.html (accessed 14 November 2002)
6m. Mongolian news in English from Montsame at http://www.mongolnet.mn/mglmsg/(accessed 14 November 2002)
6n. The Globe International, Mongolian law, on freedom of speech and press, at http://www.globeinter.com/media.html (accessed 14 November 2002)
7. NGO Reports:-
7a. Human Rights Watch letter June 1998, HRW web site (accessed 22 May 2001).
8. Republic of Mongolia government publications:-
8a. Republic of Mongolia, National Statistical Office of Mongolia, Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, February 2002.
9. Miscellaneous Reports:-
9a. War Resisters' International 1998.
9b. Europa World Yearbook 2001.
9c. World directory of minorities.