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UN expert calls on Mongolia to adopt law protecting human rights defenders

Mongolian Монгол Хэл

GENEVA (1 December 2020) – A UN human rights expert today called upon the Mongolian parliament to move forward with a ground-breaking law to protect people who stand up for human rights in the Central Asian country.

"Mongolia has a chance to be a regional leader, and I urge all parliamentarians to support this important law, which would make it easier for human rights defenders to continue their important work," said Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

The Human Rights Defender Law, drafted by the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia with the support of civil society, was submitted to Parliament, the Great State Khural, in May, and should be on its agenda for discussion before mid-December. The law includes a definition of human rights defenders in line with international standards, and provides for their protection. It also foresees establishment of an independent body to prevent and respond to violations of their rights.

"I commend the submission of this law to the parliament, and I hope that all political parties will support it unanimously," said Lawlor. "If enacted, this law would be the first of its kind in the region, and will send a strong signal of Mongolia's commitment to human rights."


Ms Mary Lawlor, (Ireland) is the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Business and Human Rights in Trinity College Dublin. She was the founder of Front Line Defenders - the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. As Executive Director from 2001-2016, she represented Front Line Defenders and had a key role in its development. Ms. Lawlor was the Director of the Irish Section of Amnesty International from 1988 to 2000, became a Board member in 1975 and was elected Chair from 1983 to 1987.

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.

For more information and media requests, please contact Adriana Zarraluqui (+41 22 917 9965 / azarraluqui@ohchr.org) or write to defenders@ohchr.org.

For media enquiries regarding other UN independent experts, please contact Renato de Souza (+41 22 928 9855 / rrosariodesouza@ohchr.org), Jeremy Laurence (+ 41 22 917 7578 / jlaurence@ohchr.org) and Kitty McKinsey (kmckinsey@ohchr.org)

Follow news related to the UN's independent human rights experts on Twitter@UN_SPExperts.

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