Ulaanbaatar: The Mongolian government has begun reforms of the country’s legal system to prevent discrimination but the LGBT community and rights activists remains skeptical saying it falls short of tackling hate crimes.
Hate crime has emerged as a serious issue in Mongolia with numerous attacks against the country’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender population, according to aljazeera.com.
Though reliable statistics are hard to come by, rights groups say vicious attacks continue to mar Mongolia’s human rights record.
In April, three men were physically attacked by a neo-Nazi group in Ulaanbaatar and in February, a gay man who later died was sexually assaulted by homophobic nationalists. Police at first refused to register the latter case because male-to-male rape is not a crime in Mongolia.
“We are not sure whether later [the victim] was murdered – or whether he killed himself,” says a civil rights advocate, who asked not to be named but who described the event as a hate crime.
The government’s legal reform proposals, announced in May, include a review of anti-discrimination provisions in the country’s criminal code.
However, “hate-motivated acts need to be included as a crime category,” says Bataa Bayaraa, head of the Mongolian National Human Rights Commission. “That’s why we proposed to include provisions [for] those acts where perpetrators pressure, threaten and interfere with the daily lives of people out of hatred.”
At present, no measures exist to penalize perpetrators for suspected bias-motivated violence, nor are law enforcement agencies required to outline suspected intent.
In late May, the ministry of justice, responsible for submission of the draft to parliament, removed hate-oriented provisions, replacing these with generalized references to “discrimination.”
“They had intended to draft hate crimes into law,” explains Anaraa Nyamdorj, executive director of the country’s LGBT Centre. “Instead they’ve codified discrimination, drafting it in such a way – so broad – that it will be very difficult to bring down to an implementation level.”
The initial draft, produced by a working group of rights activists and justice ministry officials in January this year, had included specific provisions for crimes of “hate bias.”
Many had hoped that the country’s anti-discrimination laws would be extended to include restrictions on offending, insulting or humiliating people because of their sexual orientation.
The National Human Rights Commission said in 2012, almost 80 percent of people surveyed who identified themselves as LGBT had experienced some form of human rights abuse in the previous three-year period.
Almost three-quarters had considered suicide one or more times, “due to society’s intolerance and failure to understand them,” the commission reported.