Flag of Mongolia

Mongolia

A draft was initially prepared by civil society and based on the Model Law, but was then revised by a Parliamentary Working Group in a process that had few opportunities for civil society input. The Bill that was adopted shortly afterwards in 2021, became the first human rights defenders law in Asia, however, it contains some articles which could limit human rights defenders’ rights. The Bill states that the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) must create the protection mechanism.

Law of Mongolia on the legal status of human rights defenders

Type of instrument: Law and Protection Mechanism
Status (as at 1 January 2022):
Adopted by Parliament 1 April 2021, entered into force on 1 July 2021.

Comments on the instrument:
The draft bill prepared by civil society was based on the Model Law, and provided reasonable protection for HRDs. The draft was revised by a Parliamentary Working Group with few opportunities for civil society input. The Bill was adopted shortly afterwards, becoming the first law on HRDs adopted in Asia. It contains most substantive provisions of the Model Law. However, some articles are redacted in a way that could be interpreted to limit HRDs’ rights (i.e. article 6.1.1 only recognises the right to promote human rights enshrined in the Constitution, national laws or ratified treaties). The Law establishes a Protection Mechanism and states that the national human rights institution must create the Mechanism, which will be set out in a complimentary document that is currently being developed.

Does the instrument contain specific provisions easily used to restrict HRDs’ rights?

Yes:

  • Article 5.1.5 indicates that HRDs are to ‘Respect honour, reputation… of others’, similarly, article 8.1 indicates that HRDs are prohibited from damaging the honour, reputation or ‘fame at the working field’ of others. These provisions could be misused to silence or criminalise defenders, by claiming that any act of denunciation is an attack on the honour of another. 
  • Article 7 restricts the resources HRDs can receive, prohibiting funding from ambiguously-defined entities, such as organisations or persons carrying out activities that are deemed ‘terrorist, extremist or that harm national unity’. This ambiguity could be used to limit HRDs’ funding sources.

 


Comparison to the Model Law

Below is a short summary of the instrument compared to the Model Law. For additional information and analysis by ISHR on Mongolia, click here.

Key elements of the protection mechanism:

Provision

Covered?

Analysis / articles

Definition of Human Rights Defender

FULL

4.1.1

Right to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms

PART

6.1.1

Right to Form Groups, Associations, and Organisations

FULL

6.1.3

Right to Solicit, Receive and Utilise Resources

PART

7

Right to freedom of expression and to seek, receive and disseminate Information

FULL

6.1.2, 6.1.5

Right to access and cooperate with NGOs, government organisations and international organisations

FULL

6.1.4, 6.1.10

Right to participate in public affairs

FULL

6.1.7, 6.1.8, 6.1.11

Right to Peaceful Assembly

FULL

6.1.3

Right to represent and advocate

FULL

6.1.8, 6.1.9, 6.1.10

Right to freedom of movement

NONE

 

Right to Privacy

PART

4.1.5, 6.1.6, 9.1.1

Freedom from intimidation or reprisal

FULL

4.1.5, 9.1.1

Freedom from defamation and stigmatisation

FULL

4.1.5, 9.1.1

State obligations regarding HRDs in the instrument?

Obligation to respect, promote, protect and fulfil rights of human rights defenders

FULL

4.1.3, 4.1.4, 6.1.8,  9.1.1, 9.1.2

Obligation to facilitate the activities and work of human rights defenders 

FULL

9.1

Obligation to prevent and to ensure protection against arbitrary or unlawful intrusion, interference, and intimidation or reprisal

FULL

9.1, 9.2

Obligation to investigate, provide an effective remedy and ensure reparation

FULL

4.1.3, 6.1.8, 6.1.12, 9.3

Mechanism on the protection of HRDs established in the instrument? 
Yes, in Chapter Four

Provision

Covered?

Articles

Cooperation with human rights defenders, civil society, and national and international human rights bodies

FULL

10.4, 10.5, 11.1

Training of mechanism’s personnel on HR and fundamental freedoms

FULL

10.2, 10.4, 10.6, 11.1

Periodic reviews with independent experts and CSOs on the functioning of the Mechanism

PART

10.3.5

Resources for adequate functioning of the Mechanism / transparency on resource usage 

FULL

10.8

Public acknowledgement of human rights defenders’ work and rights (promotion of UN Declaration)

NONE

 

Disseminate information on protection programmes for human rights defenders, Mechanism’s work

PART

10.3.3

Development of protocols and guidelines based on best practices to protect human rights defenders

NONE

 

Assist investigations for prosecuting offences against human rights defenders

NONE

 

Granting of protective measures based off a specific risk assessment

FULL

4.1.6, 9.1.7, 9.2, 10.3

Review / appeal of Mechanism decision before courts or independent authority

NONE

 

Confidentiality and personal data protection

NONE

 

Actions to achieve structural changes (annual reports on the situation of human rights defenders, advising government on laws and policies related to human rights defenders)

PART

10.3.5, 10.3.6

Quick access

Law of Mongolia on the legal status of human rights defenders