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Mongolia – National Human Rights Defenders Consultation on Protection Mechanisms (20-21 August 2015)

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On 20-21 August 2015 the Center for Human Rights and Development (CHRD), Globe International, the Open Society Forum Mongolia, Oyu Tolgoi Watch (OT Watch) and FORUM-ASIA are organizing a National Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) Consultation on Protection Mechanisms.

During the 1 ½ day national consultation, around 35 Mongolian HRDs, including HRDs from the provinces, will discuss the situation of HRDs on the ground; the actual risks HRDs are currently facing and suggestions on how to mitigate them; a proposed mechanism on emergency situation for HRDs; the existing local or national program support available in each organisation; and effective and efficient civil society organisation (CSO) protection mechanism for HRDs.

HRDs in Mongolia face numerous challenges because of their work for the promotion and protection of human rights, both as individuals and collectively. One of the main underlying causes is the general lack of awareness on who HRDs are, what they do and what their rights are, as listed in the UN Declaration on HRDs.

Within its national legal framework, Mongolia does not have any legal provision in place protecting human rights defenders or recognising their role and rights. More specifically, Mongolian HRDs have identified the lack of meaningful legal protection, particularly for women human rights defenders (WHRDs) and the absence of a national mechanism for supporting and protecting HRDs in emergency situation as obstacles to their work. For their work in supporting victims and communities affected by human rights violations and abuses, HRDs in Mongolia are faced with threats, harassment, criminalisation, vilification and smear campaigns. This is exacerbated by the lack of redress and effective remedies for HRDs who want to address the violations and abuses they face.

Supporting the creation and consolidation of strong national networks of HRDs is a necessary and sustainable means of enhancing the level of protection for HRDs on the ground, which will facilitate in developing coordinated support and assistance for HRDs at risk and strengthening the national human rights movement.