Legal status of human rights defenders discussed

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During its plenary session on March 25, Parliament discussed a bill on the legal status of human rights defenders.

Some lawmakers expressed their views on the bill. Particularly, independent lawmaker N.Altankhuyag said, “There are many human rights organizations in Mongolia. They need to do their job. A Human Rights Defenders Committee with seven members will be set up under the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). We should not do it. Yesterday, I told D.Tsogtbaatar to withdraw the bill. Do some real work. The people demand us to work clearly.”

“It was decided to discuss the bill. We are working in accordance with the parliamentary procedure. There is a difference of opinion. There is a logic that the state violates and protects human rights. Citizen participation is important for human rights. The NHRC does not fully protect the rights of citizens. Therefore, this bill is important. It is time for us to break free from the thinking of the last century,” Speaker of Parliament G.Zandanshatar noted.

Expressing his support for the bill, parliamentarian T.Ayursaikhan emphasized that there is no need to establish a human rights committee, and the NHRC ought to handle the matter.

There must be a special law to protect human rights. Therefore, several penal mechanisms were stated in the bill, lawmaker Ts.Munkhtsetseg said.

Lawmaker L.Munkhbaatar said, “The bill on human rights defenders must be passed. Non-staff committees and councils are ineffective. It is doubtful that the committee will operate independently.”

During the session, Parliament discussed the draft revision of the Law on Legal Assistance.

“The terms public defender and private defender need to be changed. We should intensify the work of providing legal assistance in electronic form, and need to provide legal information through television and radio,” lawmaker Ts.Munkh-Orgil said.

Head of the working group P.Sainzorig stressed that online legal advice will be expanded, and 12,000 people received online counseling.

Parliamentarian Ts.Tuvaan said, “The bill contains important provisions related to citizens whose land ownership rights have been violated. The rights of 1,600 citizens are being violated in connection with 22,000 hectares of land in Sergelen soum of Tuv Province. If the law is passed, it will be possible to protect such human rights.”

The draft revision of the law was supported for discussion with an approval of 65.2 percent.

Misheel Lkhasuren