The Advocates for Human Rights in collaboration with The National Center Against Violence submitted a parallel report to the 63rd Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women regarding Mongolia’s failure to comply with the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women as it relates to domestic violence.
Domestic violence is an acknowledged widespread and serious problem in Mongolia, but it is generally viewed as a private matter. National statistics are not readily available, but local police stations report that a high percentage of the calls they receive are related to domestic violence. In one estimate, one in three Mongolian women was a victim of domestic violence in 2010.
Despite several notable examples of recent progress, Mongolia’s current legal framework still includes many gaps. Although Mongolia’s Law on Combatting Domestic Violence (LCDV) was enacted in 2004 and subsequently updated, a number of police, prosecutors, judges, and social workers remained unaware of the law in 2013 as discovered during a fact-finding mission. Administrative and criminal laws generally lack specific provisions addressing domestic violence, so law enforcement personnel rely on inadequate legal provisions that either carry inappropriate punishments or pose substantial evidentiary and procedural obstacles. For example, a victim must register a complaint, obtain proof of medium to severe injuries in the form of a forensic certificate, and receive approval of the case by police and a prosecutor, before proceeding with criminal charges. Victims are dissuaded from reporting domestic abuse because they cannot report anonymously and, thus, fear their identity might be made known to the perpetrator. Judges refuse to issue restraining orders unless the victim shows a sufficient level of danger. The LCDV fails to clearly assign responsibility for enforcing restraining orders, lacks specified consequences for violation of a restraining order, and lacks harmonization with the Criminal Code and the Court Order Implementation Agency. Instead of legal remedies, many women see divorce as a primary, and often the only, solution to domestic violence.
With the insufficient access to shelters and services for victims of domestic violence, perpetrators in Mongolia have easily stalked, threatened, hurt and even killed victims who were trying to escape. Mongolia has not allocated an adequate budget for domestic violence issues, so victims and survivors are not effectively protected. Social workers, police, and legal aid providers have heavy caseloads that prevent them from focusing on the needs of domestic violence victims.
Domestic violence violates women’s rights to freedom from discrimination, equal protection and equality with men before the law, and equality in all matters relating to marriage and family relations. Mongolia not acted with due diligence to prevent, investigate, and punish these violations of women’s rights. As a result, The Advocates for Human Rights and The National Center Against Violence included several recommendations for the government of Moldova. Recommendations include revision and amending of the LCDV to ensure victim safety and promote offender accountability, harmonizing LCDV with related legislation, education for systems actors regarding the dynamics of domestic violence, and review and monitoring of the implementation of these changes.
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