Rape and Domestic Violence: The criminal code outlaws sexual intercourse through physical violence (or threat of violence) and provides for sentences of 15 to 25 years’ imprisonment or death, depending on the circumstances. (Although the death penalty exists in the criminal code, it has been abolished in practice.) No law prohibits spousal rape, which authorities do not commonly recognize or prosecute.
NGOs noted that many rapes were not reported and stated that cultural norms, as well as stressful police and judicial procedures, tended to discourage reporting.
Domestic violence remained a serious and widespread problem. In the first seven months of the year, the NGO National Center against Violence (NCAV) registered 1,130 reports of domestic violence, including 695 injuries and six deaths. In approximately the same period, NCAV provided services, including shelter, to more than 840 persons. The Ulaanbaatar Metropolitan Police Department’s Prevention of Domestic Violence and Crimes against Children Division reported a 27.4 percent increase in domestic violence crimes in the first seven months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. NCAV attributed the increase to greater public awareness and worsening economic conditions. NCAV also reported an increase in the number of police officers requesting information and a drop in complaints that police had refused to respond to domestic violence calls, which it also attributed to growing government and public awareness of the problem. NCAV stated that the introduction of specialized units had increased police engagement on the issue and commitment to follow cases to completion. Combating domestic violence is included in the accredited training curriculum of the Law Enforcement Academy and in all police officers’ position descriptions. Observers credited vigorous campaigning by NGOs and government entities with bringing domestic violence into the public discourse and elevating government efforts to combat it.
Because there are no specific criminal law provisions on domestic violence, prosecutors pursue criminal charges under other provisions of the criminal code (such as assault, battery, infliction of injury, disorderly conduct, and hooliganism). Civil law provides a measure of protection for victims of domestic abuse, including through restraining orders, but a number of procedural and other barriers make these difficult to obtain and enforce. The law requires police who receive reports of domestic violence 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. Domestic violence cannot be reported anonymously, which may dissuade individuals from reporting it.
Authorities sometimes detained alleged perpetrators of domestic violence on administrative rather than criminal charges. Those detained under administrative charges were typically fined MNT 15,000 ($7) and released after a maximum detention of 72 hours. The determination of whether to charge alleged perpetrators with administrative or criminal offenses depended on the severity of physical injury inflicted on the victim.
According to NCAV, there were seven shelters (two in Ulaanbaatar) and six one-stop service centers (three in Ulaanbaatar) run by a variety of NGOs, local government agencies, and hospitals. The Ulaanbaatar Metropolitan Police Department’s Prevention of Domestic Violence and Crimes against Children Division included a police-run shelter for victims of domestic violence. The shelter staff received Ministry of Justice-funded training from NCAV staff during the year.
The one-stop service centers, located primarily at hospitals, provided emergency shelter to victims for up to 72 hours. Victims in need of longer-term accommodations were transferred to shelters. The small number of shelters, particularly in rural areas, presented a challenge for domestic violence victims seeking assistance. NCAV reported that only the police-run shelter received direct government funding in 2015 or 2016. The government continued to direct victims to NCAV and other NGOs.
Sexual Harassment: The law charges employers with taking steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, including by establishing internal rules about sexual harassment and the redress of complaints, but provides no penalties (see section 7.d.). Although the law provides that victims of sexual harassment may file complaints with the NHRC, such complaints were rare; however, the NHRC reported a slight increase in complaints compared to previous years. NGOs stated there was a lack of awareness and consensus within society of what constituted inappropriate behavior, making it difficult to gauge the extent of the problem. The NHRC reported poor knowledge of the law’s sexual harassment provisions among both employers and employees.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children; manage their reproductive health; and have access to the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. A local NGO that supports teenage mothers reported that social stigma and poor knowledge of reproductive health impeded young women’s access to prenatal care. Reproductive health information was widely available, although it was rarely available in a format accessible to persons with disabilities. According to the Mongolian National Federation of Wheelchair Users, it was virtually impossible for women in wheelchairs to go to the hospital for prenatal checks, both because of a lack of physical access and negative attitudes.
Discrimination: The law provides the same legal status and rights to women and men, including equal pay for equal work and equal access to education. These rights were generally observed, although women faced discrimination in employment (see section 7.d.).
The law sets mandatory quotas for the inclusion of women in the government and political parties. It also outlaws discrimination on the basis of sex, appearance, or age.
Divorced women secured alimony payments under the family law, which details rights and responsibilities regarding alimony and parenting. The former husband and wife evenly divide property and assets acquired during their marriage. In most cases, the divorced wife retained custody of any children; divorced husbands often failed to pay child support and did so without penalty. Women’s activists said that because family businesses were usually registered under the husband’s name, ownership continued to be transferred automatically to the former husband in divorce cases.
No separate government agency oversees women’s rights, but the Working Group on Gender Equality under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection coordinates policy and women’s interests among ministries, NGOs, and gender councils at the provincial and local levels. In parliament a Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture, and Science focused on gender matters.