UN expert to visit Mongolia to assess situation of human rights defenders

  •  The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, will undertake his first official visit to Mongolia from 30 April to 13 May 2019.

“As the Government of Mongolia is considering a draft law to protect human rights defenders, my visit is particularly timely,” said the UN expert. “I look forward to fruitful discussions with executive representatives, as well as officials from the legislative and judicial branches.

“I will also meet with human rights defenders to understand the situation they face in Mongolia and to explore how my mandate can better support their work.” 

Highlighting the recently adopted Human Rights Council’s resolutionwhich recognises the key role played by human rights defenders in the protection of the environment, the Special Rapporteur said that his visit would also allow him to look into the specific situation of environmental human rights defenders.

“During my visit, I intend to analyse how the government of Mongolia is ensuring that people and communities can safely promote and defend human rights and the environment,” said Forst. “This seems particularly important in a country where the population has historically always lived in harmony with nature, but is now facing rapid industrial growth, urbanisation, mining and other extractive activities that impact on their rights.”

During his two-week visit, at the invitation of the Government, the human rights expert will meet Government officials, human rights defenders and representatives of civil society, and the business sector, in Ulaanbaatar areas and Dornogovi aimag.

Forst will present his preliminary observations on the visit at a press conference on Monday 13 May 2019, at 11 am local time, in the UN Auditorium, UN House, UN Street-14, Sukhbaatar District, Ulaanbaatar. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report of this visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2020.

ENDS

Mr. Michel Forst (France) was appointed by the Human Rights Council as the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in 2014. Mr. Forst has extensive experience of human rights issues and specifically of the situation of human rights defenders. He was the Director General of Amnesty International (France) and Secretary General of the first World Summit on Human Rights Defenders in 1998. He is a former UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Haiti.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page: Mongolia

The Special Rapporteur is mandated to conduct official visits to States on their invitation. These visits provide an opportunity to examine in detail the role and situation of human rights defenders in the country, to identify particular problems and to make recommendations on how these could be resolved. By the nature of the mandate, the Special Rapporteur is required to look critically at the situation of human rights defenders in a country. Nevertheless, the process is intended to provide an independent and impartial assessment which will be of use to all actors in strengthening both the contribution of defenders to human rights and their protection.

Issues raised during such visits include: violations committed against human rights defenders; challenges to the “environment” within which defenders conduct their human rights work, including freedoms of association and expression, access to funding and the support to defenders provided by domestic legislation; and efforts undertaken by the authorities to protect human rights defenders from violations.

A few months after each visit, the Special Rapporteur issues a report on the visit indicating, among other things, main concerns and recommendations for action. The report is then formally presented by the Special Rapporteur at the Human Rights Council.

For additional information, please contact: Thibaut Guillet (+41 22 917 9158 / +41 22 79 752 0486 / tguillet@ohchr.org

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