Rape and Domestic Violence: The criminal code outlaws sexual intercourse through physical violence, or threat of violence, and provides for sentences of one to 20 years’ imprisonment or life imprisonment, depending on the circumstances. The criminal code criminalizes spousal rape. Domestic violence is also a crime, for which perpetrators can be punished administratively or criminally, including in the latter case a maximum two years’ imprisonment. The government maintained a nationwide database of domestic violence perpetrators, and those who commit a second domestic violence offense are automatically charged under criminal law.
The nongovernmental National Center against Violence (NCAV) and the NPA both reported during the year that police response to domestic violence complaints improved. Moreover, better training of justice-sector actors and the enactment of 31 new regulations designed to improve the implementation of domestic violence law contributed to an increase in convictions for domestic violence during the year. Although the law provides alternative measures of protection for victims of domestic abuse, including restraining orders, procedural and other barriers made these difficult to obtain and enforce.
Despite improvements, domestic violence remained a serious and widespread problem. The NPA reported increased reporting of domestic violence by third parties. Combating domestic violence is included in the accredited training curriculum of the police academy and in all police officer position descriptions.
The NCAV expanded its activities designed to support victims, including training for medical personnel who delivered services to deaf victims of domestic violence.
According to the NPA, there were nine shelters and 10 one-stop service centers for domestic violence survivors run by a variety of NGOs, local government agencies, and hospitals. The one-stop service centers, located primarily at hospitals, provided emergency shelter for a maximum of 72 hours. The relatively small number of shelters located in rural areas presented a challenge for domestic violence victims in those areas. The NCAV, which operated three shelters in the country, including two in rural areas, did not receive government funding during the first nine months of the year despite a law that requires such funding.
Sexual Harassment: The criminal code does not include sexual harassment as a crime. NGOs said 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.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization.
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.
The law sets mandatory minimum quotas for women in the government and political parties. It also outlaws discrimination based on sex, appearance, or age, although some NGOs noted authorities did not enforce this provision.
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 and properties usually were 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 National Committee on Gender Equality, chaired by the prime minister and implemented by 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. The government’s National Program on Gender Equality 2017-21 and its related action plan seek the economic empowerment of women and equal participation in political and public life.
Birth Registration: Citizenship derives from one’s parents, and as of October births were immediately registered and a registration number issued through an online system jointly developed by the Ministry of Health, the National Statistics Office, and the State Registration Agency. In the past births generally were registered within one to three weeks, although residents of rural areas sometimes registered their children somewhat later. Failure to register could result in the denial of public services.
Child Abuse: The criminal code includes a specific chapter on crimes against children, including forced begging, abandonment, inducing addiction, engaging children in criminal activity or pornography, and the trafficking and abuse of children.
Child abuse was a significant problem and consisted principally of domestic violence and sexual abuse. The government’s Family, Child, and Youth Development Authority (FCYDA) and the NCAV noted that reporting of child abuse increased following enactment of obligatory reporting laws. The FCYDA also noted its continued operation of a hotline to report child abuse and the opening of an emergency service center, including a shelter, for child victims of abuse.
Child abandonment was also a problem. Some children were orphaned or ran away from home because of poverty-related neglect or parental abuse. Police officials stated they sent children of abusive parents to shelters, but some observers indicated many youths were returned to abusive parents. According to the FCYDA, as of November there were 1,045 children living in 31 care centers, including orphanages.
Each province and all of Ulaanbaatar’s district police offices had a specialized police officer appointed to investigate crimes against, or committed by, juveniles. The FCYDA and Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs maintained 609 local task forces to prevent child abuse.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age for marriage is 18 years, with court-approved exceptions for minors age 16 to 18 who obtain the consent of parents or guardians. There were no reports of underage or forced marriages.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: Although illegal, the commercial sexual exploitation of children younger than age 18 years was a problem. According to NGOs there were instances in which teenage girls were kidnapped, coerced, or deceived and forced to work in prostitution. The minimum age for consensual sex is 16. Violators of the statutory rape law (defined as sexual intercourse with a person younger than age 16 not involving physical violence or the threat of violence) are subject to a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Those who engaged children in prostitution or sexual exploitation are subject to a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, or life imprisonment if aggravating circumstances were present.
NGOs reported that online child pornography was relatively common. Although police took steps to improve their capacity to investigate such crimes and initiated the “unfriend movement” to increase protection of children online, technical expertise remained limited. Of 192 reported cases of child sexual abuse, police formally opened only 22 criminal cases for further investigation. The maximum penalty for engaging children in pornography under the criminal code is eight years’ imprisonment.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/for-providers/legal-reports-and-data.html.
The Jewish population was very small, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts. Neo-Nazi groups active in the country tended to target other Asian nationalities and not Jews.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities, defining these as restrictions due to permanent impairment of the body or intellectual, mental, or sensory capacities. Prohibitions against discrimination in employment against persons with disabilities are limited.
The president has an adviser on disability issues, and the prime minister chairs the Council for Implementing the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which aims to enforce disabilities-related law; facilitate equal participation; and improve social, educational, health, and labor services for persons with disabilities.
In August the government established the Agency for Development of Persons with Disability under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, with a mandate to improve living conditions, employment opportunities, and accessibility to infrastructure and education for persons with disabilities.
There is no explicit prohibition of discrimination in education, but the law charges the government with creating conditions to provide students with disabilities an education. Students with disabilities are by law allowed to attend mainstream schools. Nevertheless, children with disabilities faced significant barriers to education. The nongovernmental Association of Parents with Differently-abled Children maintained that government efforts to offer inclusive education for children with disabilities were insufficient due in part to government instability and consequent staffing shortfalls. This NGO and FCYDA also stated schools often lacked trained staff and the infrastructure to accommodate children with disabilities. Although the majority of children with disabilities began public schooling, the dropout rate increased as the children aged. Children with disabilities in rural areas were more likely to drop out of school because most separate schools for students with disabilities were in Ulaanbaatar.
The Mongolian National Association of Wheelchair Users expressed concern the medical system effectively limited the reproductive and sexual rights of women and girls with disabilities. The NGO also noted a case in which a woman with disabilities who was already the mother of two children underwent sterilization at her doctor’s urging.
Although the law mandates standards for physical access to new public buildings and a representative of persons with disabilities serves on the state commission for inspecting standards of new buildings, most new buildings were not constructed in compliance with the law. Public transport remained largely inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Emergency services were often inaccessible to blind and deaf persons because service providers lacked trained personnel and appropriate technologies. Moreover, domestic violence shelters were not accessible to persons with disabilities.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The criminal code prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, language, race, age, gender, social status, professional position, religion, education, or medical status. Violators are subject to a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. As of September no cases were known to have been prosecuted under the law.
NGOs continued to report that LGBTI individuals faced violence and discrimination both in public and at home based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. There were reports LGBTI persons faced greater discrimination and fear in rural areas than in Ulaanbaatar due to less public awareness and limited online media accessibility in rural areas. The nongovernmental LGBT Center received a number of reports of violence against LGBTI persons, most involving young LGBTI persons who either came out to their families or their families discovered they were LGBTI.
The LGBT Center noted that despite increased police awareness of abuses faced by the LGBTI community and capacity to respond to problems affecting LGBTI persons, there were still reported cases involving police harassment of LGBTI victims of alleged crimes. Authorities frequently dismissed charges when a crime victim was an LGBTI person.
There were reports of discrimination against LGBTI persons in employment.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
Although there was no official discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS, some societal discrimination existed. The public generally continued to associate HIV/AIDS with same-sex sexual activity, burdening victims with social stigma and potential employment discrimination.