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Amnesty International Report 2004 - Mongolia

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 26 May 2004
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2004 - Mongolia , 26 May 2004, available at: [accessed 1 December 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Covering events from January - December 2003

Political opponents of the government suffered human rights violations, including arbitrary detention and ill-treatment. Torture was common in detention centres and allegations of torture and ill-treatment were rarely investigated adequately. Conditions in detention continued to improve, but serious inadequacies persisted.


The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, which governed from 1921 until 1996 and returned to government in 2000, remained in power.

Abuses of political opponents

Human rights violations against political opponents were reported, including during attempts to solve the 1998 assassination of Zorig Sanjasuuren, leader and co-founder of the opposition National Democratic Party, who helped to bring about the transition to democracy in Mongolia in 1989.

  • In May, Enkhbat Damiran, a Mongolian citizen resident in France, was allegedly detained by the Mongolian General Intelligence Agency (GIA) in Le Havre, France. He was reportedly beaten and drugged before being forcibly returned to Mongolia. The GIA suspected him of involvement in the assassination of Zorig Sanjasuuren, but he was not charged and no evidence against him was made public. In November the State General Prosecutor stated that his office had not seen any evidence pointing to a suspect in Zorig Sanjasuuren's murder. Enkhbat Damiran was reportedly taken in May to Abdarabt Prison to serve a previous sentence for assault. He had been released on parole while serving this sentence in 1998 because of poor health. Enkhbat Damiran's health deteriorated after his return to Mongolia. He suffered severe trauma to his liver and pancreas, and was reportedly denied the necessary hospital treatment.
  • Lanjar Gundalai, a member of parliament for the opposition Democratic Coalition and vocal opponent of the government, was detained by plainclothes police officers as he attempted to leave the country to attend a regional conference on democracy in Singapore. Witnesses said the police showed no arrest warrants or identity cards. A videotape of the incident allegedly showed Lanjar Gundalai's driver, who was also arrested, being choked, and his assistant being beaten. Lanjar Gundalai was released the next day without charge. No further information was available about the driver.

Torture and ill-treatment

The authorities acknowledged that torture in detention was a problem, but the culture of impunity persisted.

  • In April police allegedly beat four people at a sit-in protest by farmers in the capital Ulaanbaatar. Two of the men reportedly needed hospital treatment for injuries to their head and legs. No investigation was known to have been carried out.

Conditions in detention

In September 2002 responsibility for the authorization of pre-trial detention was transferred from the Public Prosecutor's office to the courts. As a result, according to information gathered by the Centre for Human Rights and Development, the number of detainees in pre-trial detention had halved by early 2003, leading to a reduction in overcrowding. Anecdotal evidence from across the country suggested that the transfer in 2002 of supervision of pre-trial detention facilities from the police to the Judicial Decision Execution Agency had also led to an improvement in conditions. The quantity and quality of food provided was reportedly better, as was guards' treatment of detainees.

However, conditions in detention continued to cause concern. Detainees in Gants Hudag detention centre continued to have little or no access to lawyers, insufficient access to toilets and inadequate lighting. In addition, detainees were grouped together without regard to age or the nature of their offence.

Death penalty

The death penalty continued to be applied and executions were carried out in secret. No official statistics were available and the number of executions was unknown.

Violence against women

A survey conducted by the National Anti-Violence Centre found that one in three women in Mongolia said they had suffered some kind of violence, and one in 10 reported harassment by their husbands. Several organizations, along with members of parliament and the government, continued drafting a bill on domestic violence.

AI country visits

AI Mongolia delegates visited Gants Hudag detention centre in March.

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