National Forum on “Reporting on implementation of International Human Rights Treaties

02 Jul 2013

Speech by Ms. Sezin Sinanoglu, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative

2 July 2013

  • Mr. Byambadorj, Chief Commissioner and Members of the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia,
  • Mr Mandakhbileg, Director, Legal Dept, MFA
  • Mr. Sunjid, Director of M&E and Audit, MoJ
  • Distinguished Representatives of Civil Society, 
  • Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning to all!

Today’s forum seminar is the exciting opportunity to help national stakeholders take stock of where we are on the recommendations raised at the first UPR cycle review.

I would like to congratulate the National Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice for undertaking such a thorough process (large consultation?) which is consistent with the spirit and intent of the UPR process outlined by the Human Rights Council. It also highlights the value of having a national human rights institution, such as the NHRCM, to work with both government and civil society to assess progress made in a rational, evidence based manner.

Let me start by reflecting on the role and purpose of the UPR mechanism. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a cooperative mechanism based on objective and reliable information and on interactive dialogue. It was only established by the Human Rights Council (HRC) in 2006, making it one of the more recent tools of the United Nations. What I like and admire about the UPR is that it objectively and equally assesses the human rights situation on the ground for all of the 193 UN Member States. Another important aspect is that the UPR is led by the member states and requires the participation of relevant stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions (NHRIs) such as the NHRCM which is hosting today’s forum.

The UPR process has now entered into its second cycle. The second cycle review looks at the recommendations accepted by the State during its first review and the progress to date in implementing those recommendations.

In the first cycle, Mongolia received 126 recommendations to improve human rights protection and promotion. It accepted all except 3 of those recommendations. UPR Info - International NGO, based in Geneva recently released a report on Mid-Term Implementation Assessment of Mongolia. It says that of the 126, 43 recommendations are not implemented, 48 recommendations are partially implemented, and 26 recommendations are fully implemented. As reported by UPR Info, Mongolia ranks among the highest in the Asia-Pacific region both in terms of acceptance (Cambodia accepted 100 per cent) and the implementation status of the recommendations given by HRC.

As we know, these recommendations covered the whole range of human rights issues in Mongolia.

I would take this moment to congratulate the Government for the steps they’ve taken to implement the recommendations made during the 2010’s UPR, including for instance:

  • The Gender Equality Law – February 2011;
  • The Law on Information Transparency and Right to Information – June 2011;
  • Ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty – March 2012; 
  • The package law on judicial reforms - March 2013. This comprehensive reform package aims at ensuring judicial independence and transparency as well as strengthening competencies and administration.    
  • Draft laws on protection of victims and witness and legal aid to the poor;
  • Development of the human rights checklist by the Ministry of Justice;

In addition, Mongolia is actively engaging with Special Procedures of the United Nations. It received the UN Working on Business and Human Rights in October 2012, the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty in December 2012. 

Every country in the world faces challenges in the effective implementation of their respective human rights commitments. This is also true in Mongolia and I am sure that we would all agree, that even with the achievements that have been made since the 2010 UPR, there is still much work to be done.

Extra efforts are needed in the following areas:

  • Further develop strong institutions and watchdog bodies such as the judiciary, NHRCM and IAAC that can assist the Government to evaluate the situation on the ground and that provide independent advice on effective and timely measures for improving the human rights situation;
  • Ratify OPCAT (Optional Protocol of the Convention Against Torture);
  • Stop violence against women and children, increase women’s representation at decision making level. Relevant treaties and conventions such as CEDAW is a powerful tool for promotion and protection of women’s rights.
  • Intensify work to fight corruption as a major impediment to development and democratic governance.
  • Eradicate poverty.

Almost all of these proposals were accepted by Mongolia during the first UPR. It is crucial that all stakeholders come together and work in a concerted manner to implement these commitments to ensurethe fundamental rights of all Mongolians are promoted and protected.

Now, I would like to touch on how the UN System is supporting the Country to realize its commitments for improving human rights situation.   

First and foremost, the United Nations System applies a Rights Based Approach to all its work and human rights is at the center of everything that we do. Our work focuses on reducing inequalities and discrimination, increasing access to basic services, stopping violence and conflict, promoting the participation and voice of people – all of these are part and parcel of the larger freedoms and human rights. Unless they are fully observed or achieved, economic growth will be lopsided and not human centered or sustainable. Nor will there be full democractic governance.

This is why we attach such importance to the efforts of Mongolia to effectively work towards the recommendations made in the 2010 UPR review, as well as to the consultative process prior to next UPR review in 2015. UPR follow-up is a priority in UNDAF 2012-2016 and UN agencies are supporting a wide range of activities with a wide range of partners both within Government and externally to articulate the issues, to develop capacities, to strengthen legislative and policy frameworks, to fulfill international reporting requirements and so on. For instance, UNDP is providing assistance to the NHRCM in order to increase its evidence-based reporting on emerging human rights issues and has supported studies in red tape and HR, mining and H and the , rights of minorities among others.  

UPR is not an end in itself but a means to improving the human rights situation on the ground. That is why these consultations, the common understanding, the energy and commitment that they generate are crucial for success in achieving the recommendations. The UN System stands firm in support of these initiatives as partner to the Government and CSOs. We are truly grateful that the NHRCM has organized this valuable opportunity for discussion and congratulate you all for taking part in this valuable process.