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TITLE:  MONGOLIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                          MONGOLIA


In January 1992, the legislature approved a new Constitution 
which codified Mongolia's transition from a highly centralized 
Communist state to a multiparty democracy.  The new 
Constitution established Mongolia as a sovereign republic, 
provided a broad range of rights and freedoms, retained the 
offices of President and Prime Minister, and restructured the 
legislative branch of government into a unicameral State Great 
Hural (SGH) of 76 members.  The Prime Minister and the Cabinet 
are nominated by the President and approved by the SGH.  
Continuing the positive trend of the previous 3 years, Mongolia 
in 1993 took further steps to consolidate its fledgling 
democracy and to enhance the protection of human rights.

In the preliminaries to the June 1993 presidential election, 
the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) withdrew its 
support for then incumbent President Ochirbat and supported the 
candidacy of MPRP newspaper editor Tudev.  The Mongolian 
National Democratic Party (MNDP) and the Social Democratic 
Party (SDP), along with other opposition parties, formed a 
coalition to support Ochirbat's candidacy.  This first-ever 
democratic presidential election in Mongolia's history, held on 
June 6, 1993, was monitored by international observers, who 
judged it open and fairly contested.  Ochirbat won with 57.8 
percent of the popular vote; some 92.7 percent of eligible 
voters participated in the election.

The state security apparatus--now a department responsible to 
the Cabinet--continues to redefine its role in Mongolia's 
post-Communist society.  A State Security Law enacted in 1992 
establishes SGH control and supervision of the Department of 
State Security (DSS) and its budget, presidential control of 
policy, and government oversight of daily activities, with the 
State Procurator also overseeing the legal aspects of security 
operations.  However, the new law also provides the Department 
a special right to conduct surveillance in order to carry out 
its duties and establishes the presence of security 
representatives in all public enterprises.  There have been 
some reports of police using excess force in dealing with those 
suspected or accused of criminal activity.

Despite increasing industrialization and urbanization, a large 
portion of the population is engaged in agriculture, with an 
emphasis on livestock raising and associated light industry.  
After decades of nearly total dependency on the former Soviet 
Union, Mongolia is increasing its foreign trade with other 
countries and making the difficult transition to a market 
economy.  The new Constitution lays the legal groundwork for 
this transition by establishing the right to private ownership 
of property and to conduct private commercial activity.  
However, these efforts have been handicapped by a severe 
foreign exchange shortage and a general economic slowdown.

The new Constitution establishes the basis for continued 
significant progress in most human rights categories.  It 
forbids discrimination of any sort and clearly establishes 
freedom of speech and press, assembly, and the right of 
citizens to change their government.  This year the SGH 
considered several laws concerning basic rights enumerated in 
the Constitution, including emigration, labor relations, and 
religion.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There has been no evidence of such killings in recent years.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no known instances of politically motivated 
abductions or disappearances in recent years.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

According to the new Constitution, "no person shall be 
subjected to torture, inhuman, cruel, or degrading treatment."  
There have been no reports that torture or other such treatment 
or punishment has been practiced in the recent past.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

There were no confirmed reports of arbitrary arrest, detention, 
or exile.

Under the new Constitution, no person shall be searched, 
arrested, detained, or deprived of liberty except by law.  A 
person arrested for committing a crime, his family, and his 
legal counsel are to be notified of the reasons for the arrest 
within a period of time established by law.  A number of new 
procedural laws have been passed, but Mongolia's Legal Code has 
not been completely revised.  Until that revision is complete, 
the existing Legal Code remains in force.  That Code permits 
police to arrest those in the act of committing a crime and 
hold them for up to 72 hours without a warrant.  For 
incarcerations of longer duration, or when the actual crime was 
not witnessed, a warrant must be issued by a prosecutor.  
Prosecutors are appointed by the State Prosecutor for a 5-year 
term.  The State Prosecutor was appointed by the former 
(pre-SGH) Great People's Hural for a 5-year term.

Under the existing Legal Code, a person in detention has no 
statutory right to see an attorney, and defense attorneys have 
been routinely denied access to their clients prior to trial.  
The new Constitution, however, provides for the right to legal 
assistance upon request but does not provide for free legal 
counsel for the indigent.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The new Constitution provides the right to a fair trial, legal 
assistance, appeal of a court judgment, and request for pardon.

The new Constitution also provides for a number of structural 
changes in the court system that have not yet been 
implemented.  The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body, 
while the Constitutional Court has sole authority to interpret 
the Constitution.

While the Supreme and Constitutional Courts are now 
functioning, further restructuring of the court system must 
await enactment of implementing legislation by the SGH.  In the 
interim, the existing three-level court system remains in 
operation.  The local (or "people's") courts handle most 
routine criminal and civil cases such as assault, petty 
larceny, traffic accidents, and liability disputes.  Provincial 
courts hear serious cases such as murder, rape, grand larceny, 
official corruption, and security cases.  Provincial courts 
also review local court decisions.  The Supreme Court serves as 
an appeals court for the people's and provincial courts.  To 
date the Supreme Court has rarely overturned the verdicts of 
the lower courts.  Supreme Court judges were appointed by the 
former Great People's Hural for 4-year terms.  Lower court 
judges were appointed by provincial hurals, also for 4-year 
terms.  Current civil and criminal codes provide for the right 
of the accused to judicial process, a legal defense, and public 
trial "except as stipulated by law."  Closed proceedings are 
permitted in cases involving crimes against the State, rape 
cases involving minors, and particularly brutal murders.  
Witnesses are usually required to appear at trials, but written 
testimony is sometimes accepted instead.  The accused must 
answer all questions put to him by the prosecutor.

Under the provisions of a 1993 law on the judicial system, the 
formerly separate military justice and railway court systems 
have been abolished.  All legal actions are now considered by a 
single unified national court system.

In the past the courts have been nominally independent, but in 
reality were closely controlled by the MPRP.  Since the 1990 
revolution, there has been a comprehensive review of the Legal 
Code and the structure of the judiciary in order to establish a 
legal system which will conform to international standards.  
The new Constitution stipulates that the judiciary will be 
independent and strictly guided by law; it remains to be seen 
how this stipulation will be implemented.

There are no political prisoners.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

The right to privacy of Mongolian citizens, their families, 
correspondence, and homes is provided for in the new 
Constitution.  Despite political reforms and reductions in the 
apparatus of government, however, the Government, under old 
regulations still in force, retains the authority to exercise 
control over individual activity.  Warrants must be issued by a 
prosecutor before persons or premises may be searched.

According to the 1992 State Security Law, the DSS, despite 
internal reforms, still reserves the right to use special 
surveillance methods (e.g., wiretaps) in order "to carry out 
its duties."  No information is available on the extent of 
these practices, but the authority of the DSS seems 
significantly less than what it was before the 1990 democratic 
revolution.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of speech, press, and "expression of opinion" is 
provided for in the new Constitution and is now widely 
respected in practice, although some limits remain.  Lively 
debate covering a broad range of political, economic, and 
social topics continued in 1993.  Newspapers are able to 
publish and circulate freely.  However, except for those 
newspapers which were able to import newsprint directly or 
obtain it as a gift, newsprint shortages prevented most 
newspapers from appearing regularly.  The Government controls 
the allocation of newsprint imported through official trade, 
and opposition parties and other publishers continued to allege 
that limitations on the quantities of newsprint effectively 
prevented them from publishing as frequently as the MPRP 
newspaper, Unen.

A new "independent" but government-financed television company 
was formed in mid-1992 and now broadcasts 30 hours of 
programming a week.  Government-owned Mongolian radio and 
television remain the only national broadcast systems.  
Although both the opposition and the Government at times have 
criticized Mongolian television's coverage, it regularly 
broadcasts the views of opposition parties as well as those of 
the Government, and its news programs are generally considered 
balanced.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The new Constitution provides for freedom of peaceful 
assembly.  Demonstrations--including hunger strikes--over 
various issues, mainly protesting government economic policies, 
were held throughout 1993 without interference by the 
authorities.  Although permits are required for demonstrations, 
this requirement is not enforced.  The new Constitution also 
grants the right to form a political party or other public 
organizations and to unite voluntarily in associations 
according to social interests or convictions.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The new Constitution provides for the right both to "worship 
and nonworship;" there is no state religion.  The Constitution 
explicitly provides for the separation of church and state.  
Freedom of religion is respected in practice.

On December 10, a new law on religious activity went into 
force.  This law placed limits on religious expression and 
explicitly favored Buddhism, Islam, and shamanism.  However, on 
January 12, 1994, the Constitutional Court declared those 
provisions of the law unconstitutional.


Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians all practice their faiths 
without government interference.  The Association of Mongolian 
Religious People, formed in 1990, continued to function 
freely.  The Government has not interfered with the activities 
of Christian and other missionaries, and proselytizing is 
permitted.  However, a Ministry of Education announcement 
stipulates that, because the new Constitution requires that 
education be kept separate from religion, foreign language 
teaching must not be used as a means of conducting missionary 
activity.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The new Constitution provides Mongolians the right to move 
freely within the country, choose their residence, travel and 
reside abroad, and return to Mongolia.  The right to travel 
abroad may, however, be limited by law in order to ensure 
national security and protect public order.  At least some 
Mongolians are required to surrender their passports upon 
completion of foreign travel and must request their return for 
further use.  Mongolia does not receive many refugees, but a 
few who have come from China's province of Inner Mongolia have 
been accepted for resettlement.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

The 1992 Constitution provides citizens the right to change 
their government through periodic, free elections with 
universal suffrage.  President Ochirbat, supported by a 
coalition of opposition parties, won a second term in June in 
Mongolia's first open presidential election.

The Constitution establishes the unicameral State Great Hural 
(SGH) as the supreme organ of government.  Its 76 members are 
elected by direct, secret ballot for 4-year terms.  The SGH has 
the right to set the date of SGH and presidential elections and 
can remove the President.  The President of Mongolia serves as 
Head of State and is elected to a 4-year term (with a limit of 
two terms) by national secret ballot.  The Government has a 
4-year mandate and is nominated by the party that wins a 
majority in the SGH.  The SGH, in consultation with the 
President, will continue to elect the Prime Minister and 
approve his Cabinet.


There are no legal impediments to the participation of women in 
government and politics.  According to the new Constitution, 
"men and women shall be equal in political and economic 
fields...."  In 1991 women constituted about 30 percent of the 
MPRP membership.  Three women were elected to the SGH in June 
1992.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

A local human rights group, the Mongolian Human Rights 
Committee, was formed in 1990.  There are no known impediments 
to its ability to monitor and report on human rights 
developments.  The Government has cooperated with international 
nongovernmental human rights organizations.  

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The new Constitution provides that "...no person shall be 
discriminated against on the basis of ethnic origin, language, 
race, age, sex, social origin, or status..." and that "...men 
and women shall be equal in political, economic, social, 
cultural fields, and family affairs."

There appears to be little discrimination in education on the 
basis of race, sex, or religion.  

     Women

According to government statistics, the percentage of women in 
the work force was 51.3 percent in 1992.  Women formed about 
half of trade union membership and also hold high professional 
positions in such institutions as the courts, schools, research 
centers, and hospitals.  By law and in practice, women receive 
equal pay for equal work.  Women are, however, virtually absent 
from the highest ranks of government and the professions.

There is little historical information about the extent of 
domestic violence, including spousal and child abuse.  Only 
recently has the issue surfaced in the media;  many believe 
that the incidence of such violence is growing as more and more 
families are confronted by economic and social dislocations, 
including unemployment and alcohol.


     Children

The Government believes that the growing number of orphaned and 
abandoned children is becoming a serious national problem that 
requires additional government action.  Mongolia's National 
Children's Center has been relocated in the Ministry of Social 
Welfare and Labor, which is helping to prepare new legislation 
on child protection.  A few group shelters have been 
established for abandoned and street children.

     People with Disabilities

People with disabilities have formed several groups to 
represent their interests.  Under present law, government 
benefits vary according to the degree of disability.  Those who 
have been disabled in industrial accidents have the right to be 
reemployed when ready to resume work.  The Government also 
provides tax benefits to enterprises which employ the disabled 
and some firms do so exclusively.  No legislation mandates 
access for the handicapped.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The right of association for professional associations and 
trade unions is provided for in the new Constitution.  The 
charter of the Mongolian Trade Unions Confederation (MTUC) 
provides for the unionization of police and military personnel. 
Although at present neither group belongs to the federation, 
their affiliation is under consideration.  The MTUC represents 
some 400,000 Mongolian workers.  

Union officials are elected by secret ballot.

There are no arbitrary restrictions on who may be a union 
official.  Union members, other than civil servants and 
essential service workers, have the right to strike, and 
several strikes took place during the year.  Essential services 
employees are those critical for national defense and safety, 
including the police, employees of power plants, water works, 
public transportation, and public communications, and certain 
railway employees.

Most unions in Mongolia are currently affiliated with the MTUC, 
which formerly was a part of the MPRP.  The MTUC separated from 
the party during the 1990 revolution, and its charter now 
states that all unions have the right to leave it should they 
so desire.  The MTUC also maintains there is no requirement for 
new unions to register with it or with any government body.  
The MTUC is apparently no longer an instrument of government 
control.  According to the Constitution, no political parties 
can be directly represented in the workplace.  During 1990 a 
new union movement called "The Association of Free Trade 
Unions" (AFTU) emerged.  It includes some 70 unions.  In 1992 
another new union organization, called "Blue Mongolia," came 
into existence with approximately 40,000 members.  Although the 
AFTU still functions, Blue Mongolia no longer appears to be 
active.

The new Constitution places no restrictions on the political 
activity of unions or union officials.  There is no statutory 
prohibition against unions forming federations or joining 
international bodies.  Mongolian unions, formerly affiliated 
exclusively with international Communist organizations, are 
broadening their contacts with Western labor movements.  The 
MTUC in 1993 sent representatives to various International 
Labor Organization, International Confederation of Free Trade 
Unions, and specialized federation meetings in Japan, 
Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Israel, and 
Taiwan.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Although amendments to the existing Labor Law passed in early 
1993 provide for collective bargaining, there are so far no 
known instances of such agreements.  Wage setting is an issue 
still in flux.  According to the MTUC, wages and other 
work-related issues are supposed to be decided in tripartite 
contract negotiations between the enterprises, the Government, 
and unions.  The Government's role is to be limited to making 
sure that the contract meets legal requirements, e.g., hours of 
work and safety conditions.  In practice, wages usually set by 
the employer alone, whether that employer is a private 
enterprise or the Government itself.  Virtually all enterprises 
have been privatized, including manufactured and service 
industries.  The Government, however, in addition to employing 
its own ministry officials and teachers, also owns the 
communications systems, mines, airlines, and other 
organizations.  Where the Government acts as employer, it sets 
the wages, although the MTUC member unions are trying to carve 
out a role in it for themselves, e.g, as when the teachers in 
late 1992 struck for higher wages.  However, the unions have 
not yet established a formal role.


The Labor Law prohibits antiunion discrimination.  According to 
the law, an employer must show work-related cause and must 
obtain the union's approval to fire a union official who is an 
employee.  The courts have the right to order reinstatement.  
In practice, in the several known instances of union officials 
who were faced with dismissal, the matter was resolved and the 
official continued working without resort to court intervention.

Export processing zones do not exist in Mongolia.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is specifically prohibited by law.  
However, students are frequently mobilized to help farmers 
harvest their crops.  In 1993 about 9,000 of the 30,000 
university students participated in the harvest, while the 
others paid a fine equivalent to about $5 to avoid such labor.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The law prohibits children under the age of 16 from working, 
with the exception of those aged 14 and 15 if allowed by the 
local trade union committee and given permission by their 
parents.  Those under 18 are statutorily prohibited from 
working at night, from doing arduous work, or from working in 
dangerous areas such as mining or construction.  Enforcement of 
these prohibitions, as well as all other labor regulations, is 
the responsibility of state labor inspectors assigned to 
regional and local offices.  These inspectors visit workplaces 
and have the authority to order and, reportedly, compel 
immediate compliance with labor regulations.

Prior to 1991 child employment was banned by the Constitution, 
and no statistics were kept on such employment.  However, in 
1991 the Government created the National Commission for 
Children.  The Commission, under the Ministry of Labor, is 
responsible for verifying the extent and condition of child 
labor.  As a first step, the Commission requested basic 
information from Mongolian firms, and its staff also visited 
businesses to obtain data.  At the end of the year, firms had 
still not responded to the Commission's 1992 request for data 
on child labor.  No alternate source of data on child labor 
appears to exist.  In the rural areas, there appears to have 
been a noticeable drop in school attendance by school-age 
children.  Part of this drop is undoubtedly due to problems 
faced by rural schools (primarily lack of heat), but part is 
due to some children having been withdrawn to work in the newly 
privatized herds.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The government-established minimum wage applies to all 
workers.  The minimum wage was raised in June 1993 to $0.03 per 
hour (approximately 11 tugriks at December 1993 exchange rates) 
and again in December 1993 to around $0.065 (25.74 tugriks).  
Few workers, however, make only the minimum wage; most salaried 
positions pay three or four times that rate.  The minimum wage 
has not been indexed to reflect the serious inflation of the 
past 3 years.  While it is difficult to determine what portion 
of the work force is paid at the minimum wage, this wage, 
together with subsidies provided workers, appears to provide an 
adequate standard of living, although that is endangered by 
continuing inflation.

The Labor Law sets 46 hours as the standard workweek, and 
establishes a minimum rest period of 42 hours between 
workweeks.  For those under 18 the standard workweek is 36 
hours:  overtime is forbidden by law, except in case of 
national emergency or natural disaster, such as an earthquake 
or floods, and then only with the concurrence of the local 
labor union.

Both government and organized labor recognize the importance of 
worker health and safety issues, but no specific laws on these 
topics have yet been presented to the SGH.  At present, the 
Labor Law, the Cooperatives Law, and the Enterprise Law provide 
occupational safety and health standards, and the Ministry of 
Labor sets additional standards.  These standards are enforced 
by the Government with the help of the trade unions; violators 
may be fined and imprisoned.  There were no reported incidences 
of such punishments levied in 1993.  According to the Labor 
Code, workers do have the right to remove themselves from 
dangerous work situations and still retain their jobs.  The 
Labor Inspector Force (37 investigators) has taken action, even 
to close factories if the building involved does not meet 
minimal health and safety regulations.  Nonetheless, given 
Mongolia's near total reliance on outmoded machinery and 
continuing problems with spare parts and maintenance, accidents 
are frequent.  In the past year, over 300 workers were 
reportedly killed in industrial accidents.


[end of document]

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