U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Mongolia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Mongolia, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa190.html [accessed 24 May 2015]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
MONGOLIAMongolia made further progress in its transition from a highly centralized Communist-led state to a full-fledged, multiparty, parliamentary democracy, although these gains still must be solidified, and the process continues to evolve. The Prime Minister is nominated by the President and approved by the State Great Hural, the national legislature. Mongolia's progress in the development of democratic institutions was demonstrated by the unexpected June 1996 election defeat of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), which had been in power since 1921. The MPRP accepted its defeat and has entered into its new role in opposition. There are 12 political parties, 4 or which hold seats in the Hural. Security forces are under civilian control; the Minister of Defense is the first civilian to hold this post. The national police have primary responsibility for internal security. The military forces are responsible for external security, including border security. Reduced government spending continued to force downsizing of the military forces. The State Security Agency (SSA), formerly the Mongolian Central Intelligence Agency (MCIA) is responsible for internal security; its head has ministerial status and reports directly to the Prime Minister; a Hural committee oversees the military forces, the police, and the SSA. Some members of the security forces committed occasional human rights abuses. Despite reforms in the 1990's, most large economic entities remain under state control; the Government plans to privatize 60 percent of these entities by 2000. The economy continued to expand and strengthen, despite a 1997 inflation rate of 23 percent. Mongolia remains a very poor country, with per capita income at approximately $340 dollars per year. It relies heavily on foreign economic assistance. The mainstays of the economy continue to be copper production and other mining, livestock raising, which is done by a majority of the rural population, and related food-, wool-, and hide-processing industries, which meet both local needs and produce goods for export. A growing trade and small entrepreneurial sector in the cities provides basic consumer goods. Minerals, especially copper, comprise the bulk of export earnings. An unreliable energy system, a lack of transportation and other infrastructure, and a small domestic market discourage foreign investment. The Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens. Problems remain, however, including occasional beatings of detainees and prisoners by members of the security forces, poor prison conditions, restrictions on due process for detainees, occasional government manipulation of the media, and violence against women.