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 old, or committed by a recidivist may result in 15 to 25 years’ imprisonment or the death penalty. (Although the death penalty still exists in the Criminal Code, President Elbegdorj in 2012 announced that he would amnesty all death sentences and convert them to the maximum period of imprisonment permitted by law. Since then, the death penalty has been abolished in practice, if not in law.) No law specifically prohibits spousal rape, which authorities do not commonly recognize or prosecute. Victims were often stigmatized and accused of not fulfilling their marital duties. Many NGOs blamed law enforcement officials for spousal rape victims’ silence.
The National Police Authority (NPA) received 260 reports of rape as of the end of September. Authorities reported a significant increase in the number of minor girls who were victims of rape: 54 cases in the first 10 months of the year, up from 37 cases during the same period of 2012. According to NGOs, police referred only a small number of rape cases for prosecution, generally claiming there was insufficient evidence. Additionally, NGOs alleged many rapes were not reported and claimed that police and judicial procedures imposed stress on victims and tended to discourage reporting of the crime. Social stigma also deterred reporting. The Supreme Court Research Center reported that, during the first six months of the year, there were 107 rape prosecutions, resulting in convictions for 149 defendants.
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, enforce administrative penalties, and take victims to a 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. Authorities rarely provided this level of service and, according to NGOs, police were often reluctant to intervene in what were viewed as internal family matters.
Arrestees were sometimes held under an administrative penalty law rather than for domestic abuse, in which case they were fined 15,000 tugrugs (nine dollars) and detained for up to 72 hours before being released. The determination of whether to charge abusers with administrative or criminal offenses depended on the severity of physical injury inflicted on the victim. There is no criminal provision for domestic violence, so a criminal offence would have to be charged under another article of the Criminal Code (such as battery). Additionally, domestic violence cannot be reported anonymously and 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.
Citing primarily 2012 data, the NHRC reported that cases of domestic violence, as well as the number of victims seeking assistance from hospitals and NGO-run shelters, continued the upward trend of recent years. Nevertheless, the NPA and the NGO National Center Against Violence (NCAV) noted a sharp drop in the number of domestic violence reports compared with 2012. In the first nine months of the year, the NPA received 284 reports of domestic violence, down from 415 for the same period in 2012. Police authorities attributed the decline to their crime prevention work and the efforts of the government and NGOs, such as establishing a “one-window” service center to make access to various services easier and more streamlined. Prosecuting domestic violence remained difficult. While the government adopted the Domestic Violence Law in 2005 to provide more protection for victims of domestic abuse, the criminal law has not been amended to make domestic violence a criminal offense, negatively affecting the ability to use such tools as restraining orders and to bring charges of domestic abuse against suspects. Offenders were prosecuted under criminal codes involving assault, infliction of injury to health, disorderly conduct, or hooliganism, rather than for domestic abuse. As a result, obtaining accurate statistics on prosecutions and convictions for domestic violence was extremely difficult. 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, even when issued, restraining orders were poorly monitored and enforced.
The NCAV stated that in the first nine months of the year, it provided temporary shelter to 118 persons (67 women and 51 children) at its seven locations and provided psychological and legal counseling to 102 individuals. Of those who sought shelter at the NCAV, 102 came because of domestic violence, seven because of sexual abuse, and nine because they were homeless. The NCAV continued domestic violence prevention campaigns without governmental support. The government continued to contract with NGOs to provide services to victims. For example, through November the NCAV received 40.1 million tugrugs ($23,287) from the Ministry of Population Development and Social Welfare and 33.6 million tugrugs ($19,510) from the Ministry of Justice 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 of what constituted inappropriate behavior, making it difficult to gauge the actual extent of the problem.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children, and to have the information and means to do so free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. Observers cited long waiting times, a lack of confidentiality, and unprofessional treatment by medical personnel as problems at public reproductive healthcare facilities.
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 observed. The Law on Gender Equality 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. In January the government adopted a mid-term strategy and Action Plan for the Implementation of the Law on Promotion of Gender Equality. The Action Plan aims to strengthen national mechanisms for implementation of the law, build local and regional capacity, apply the concept of gender equality at all policy and action levels, ensure participation of civil society, media, and private sectors in monitoring implementation of the law, and ensure the sustainability of human and financial resources.
Women made up approximately one-half of the workforce, and a significant number were the primary wage earners for their families. The law prohibits women from working in 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 is 60 for both men and women. Surveys by various organizations and NGOs reflected that men and women were not paid equally for equal work performed.
Divorced women secured alimony payments under the family law, which details the rights and responsibilities of each spouse regarding alimony and parenting. The former husband and wife evenly divide property and assets acquired during their marriage. In a majority of cases, the divorced wife retained custody of any children, while divorced husbands often failed to pay child support and were able to do so 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 in divorce cases.
There was no separate government agency to oversee women’s rights; however, there was the National Committee on Gender Equality 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, children, and family concerns within the Ministry of Population Development and Social Welfare. In parliament, a Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, and Science focused on gender matters.