Statement of the UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia, Tapan Mishra, on Human Rights Day

The UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia, Tapan Mishra, addressed the Mongolian public at the Human Rights Day event.

Today on the 10 of December, we celebrate Human Rights Day, a day when we commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 71 years ago in 1948, by the United Nations General Assembly. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rightswhich everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It is an opportunity for people to recognize and celebrate the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone enjoys by the mere fact that they are human. 

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration, states boldly and unequivocally that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”This summarizes clearly and succinctly the essence of the international human rights system.

Mongolia has taken great strides in realizing and protecting the rights of its citizens, starting from its constitution which embodies the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. With Mongolia’s move to a democratic systemin 1990, they have paved the way and demonstrated exemplary commitment to upholding, promoting and protecting human rights. For example, Mongolia has strengthened its own legislation on domestic violence, the rights of persons with disabilities and the Criminal Code to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to name a few.

However, there remains challenges that need to be overcome in respect to vulnerable groups within Mongolia’s society to ensure no one is left behind and everyone is entitled to the same rights. This includes the rights of women, children, herders, internal migrants, LGBT, people with disabilities and the elderly. The independence of the judiciary, executive and legislature is crucial to enable good governance and ensure accountability, as well as freedom of expression and the rights of journalists. These are areas that should be strengthened to ensure the realization of civil, political, economic, social and culturalrights for everyone. 

The theme for Human Rights Day this year is Youth Standing up for Human Rights.Youth comprises a significant part of the total population in Mongolia. They are increasingly educated but still one of the most vulnerable groups economically and socially, with the largest unemployment rate amongst all age groups in the country. Their unique skillset can be a key driver of economic diversification. Their voice and participation are essential to shape laws, policies and programmes to be aligned with human rights standards. 

Youth can play a crucial role in positive change and have always been major drivers of political, economic and social transformation. They are at the forefront of grassroots mobilizations and bring fresh ideas and solutions for a better world. With the large socio-economic disparity between rural and urban areas in Mongolia, youth can be key to revitalize rural areas if they are given the opportunity, and we harness their potential by giving them a voice. Youth can also support and promote the rights of women and girls. As we conclude the 16 days of activism on gender-based violence, we would like to reiterate the importance of positive social change to transform societal attitudes and practice to end gender-based violence which continues to remain a serious violation of human rights in Mongolia. It has been reported that more than half of Mongolian women have experienced one or more types of violence in their lifetime.

Under human rights law, the primary duty to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms lies within the State. This includes guaranteeing the right of everyone, individually and in association with others, to strive for the protection and realization of human rights. Empowering youth to better know and claim their rights will generate benefits domestically and globally. Young people are often marginalized and encounter difficulties in accessing and enjoying their rights because of their age. Upholding their rights and empowering them to better know and claim them will generate benefits for society and the economy. The State therefore has a responsibility to provide a space for youth to learn, be heard and participate. 

Marking the 30thyear anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Child this year, we encourage the protection and promotion of youth participation, which is essential to achieve sustainable development. Ensuring all children regardless of their ethnic, social, property, disability, birth or other status are protected against violence and discrimination, they have access to an education, are treated with dignity and respect, and can express their own opinions. Participation in public life is a fundamental principle of human rights, as such, young people and children are seeking to participate in all decisions that have a direct and indirect impact upon their wellbeing. They need to be heard to inform more effective decision-making and achieving sustainable development for all. 

On this International Day, I call on everyone to support and protect young people who are standing up forhuman rights. 

We, here at the UN stand ready to support the people of Mongolia to claim their rights and ensure no one is left behind, in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring that fundamental rights for all are upheld.

Speech by
Author
Tapan Mishra
Resident Coordinator
RCO
Tapan Mishra
UN entities involved in this initiative
FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
ILO
International Labor Organization
IOM
International Organization for Migration
OHCHR
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN
United Nations
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNESCO
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
UNV
United Nations Volunteers
WHO
World Health Organization