Rape and Domestic Violence: The criminal code outlaws sexual intercourse through physical violence (or threat of violence) and provides for sentences of up to five years. If the victim is injured or is a minor, the maximum penalty is 10 years. Such a crime resulting in death, victimizing a child less than 14 years of age, or committed by a recidivist may result in 15 to 25 years’ imprisonment or the death penalty. Gang rape is punishable by death. However, no law specifically prohibits spousal rape, which is commonly not recognized or prosecuted. Victims were often stigmatized and accused of not fulfilling their marital duties. As a result many NGOs blamed law enforcement officials for spousal rape victims’ silence.
During the year there were 237 rape cases, in which 336 persons were convicted, according to the Supreme Court research center. However, according to NGOs police referred only a small number of rape cases for prosecution, generally claiming there was insufficient evidence. In addition NGOs alleged many rapes were not reported and claimed that police and judicial procedures were stressful to victims and tended to discourage reporting of the crime. Social stigma also deterred reporting.
Domestic violence remained a serious problem, particularly against women of low-income rural families. The law requires police to accept and file complaints, visit the site of incidents, interrogate offenders and witnesses, impose administrative criminal penalties, and bring victims to refuge. It also provides for sanctions against offenders, including expulsion from the home, prohibitions on the use of joint property, prohibitions on meeting victims and on access to minors, and compulsory training aimed at behavior modification. However, this level of service was rarely provided because the police lacked sufficient funding and, according to NGOs, were often reluctant to intervene in what was viewed as an internal family matter.
Arrestees were sometimes held under an administrative penalty law rather than for domestic abuse, in which case they were fined 15,000 tugrik ($11) and detained for up to 72 hours before being released. In addition domestic violence cannot be reported anonymously; callers must give their names and location, thereby dissuading individuals from reporting domestic abuse due to fear their identity might be leaked to the perpetrator.
In 2010 there were 1,242 reported cases of domestic violence, nearly double the 720 in the previous year. The National Center against Violence (NCAV) believed that this was likely due to increased awareness of the resources available as a result of media campaigns about recent legislation changes. There have never been any domestic violence convictions due to the fact that, while domestic violence legislation exists, there is no implementing provision in the criminal code. Offenders are prosecuted under other criminal codes involving assault, infliction of injury to health, disorderly conduct, or hooliganism. The NCAV reported that of 18 clients requesting restraining orders, only two of the requests were granted. Moreover, the law fails to assign responsibility to particular agencies to execute restraining orders. The Mongolian Women’s Legal Association reported that, as a result, restraining orders were poorly monitored and enforced. The law states restraining orders can be in effect only as long as victims are in a shelter, thus exposing them to danger upon their release.
The NCAV stated that in the first six months of the year, it provided temporary shelter to 237 persons at its six locations and provided psychological counseling to more than 1,300 individuals. The NCAV launched domestic violence prevention campaigns without governmental support. State and local governments financially supported the NCAV in providing services to domestic violence victims. In total the Ministry of Social Welfare and Labor (MSWL) provided 14.3 million tugrik ($10,270) in the first nine months of the year to assist victims of domestic violence.
Sexual Harassment: There are no laws against sexual harassment. NGOs stated there was a lack of awareness within society on what constituted inappropriate behavior, making it difficult to gauge the actual extent of the problem.
Sex Tourism: According to women’s NGOs, sex tourism from South Korea and Japan remained a problem.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children and have the information and means to do so free from discrimination. The Ministry of Health reported that 83 percent of pregnant women had access to childbirth services, prenatal care, essential obstetric care, and postpartum care in 2009. According to the UN Population Fund’s 2011 State of the World Population Report, 61 percent of women ages 15-49 had access to modern methods of contraception. However, observers stated that public reproductive health-care facilities had long waiting times, a lack of confidentiality, and unprofessional treatment by medical personnel.
Discrimination: The law provides men and women with equal rights in all areas, including equal pay for equal work and equal access to education. In most cases these rights were enjoyed in practice. In February the parliament enacted the Law on Gender Equality. This law sets mandatory quotas for the inclusion of women within the government and political parties. It also outlaws discrimination on the basis of sex, appearance, or age. Women represented approximately half of the workforce, and a significant number were the primary wage earners for their families. The law prohibits women from working in certain occupations that require heavy labor or exposure to chemicals that could affect infant and maternal health, and the government effectively enforced these provisions. Many women occupied mid-level positions in government and business or were involved in the creation and management of new trading and manufacturing businesses. The mandatory retirement age of 55 for women is five years lower than that for men.
Divorced women secured alimony payments under the family law, which details the rights and responsibilities regarding alimony and parenting. The former husband and wife evenly divided property and assets acquired during their marriage. In a majority of cases, the divorced wife retained custody of any children, but Monfemnet reported that divorced husbands often failed to pay child support without penalty. Women’s activists said that because businesses were usually registered under the husband’s name, ownership continued to be transferred automatically to the former husband.
There was no separate government agency to oversee women’s rights; however, there was the National Gender Center under the Prime Minister’s Office, a national council to coordinate policy and women’s interests among ministries and NGOs, and a division for women and youth concerns within the MSWL. In the parliament, a Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, and Science focused on gender matters.