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Urgent Interventions

Mongolia: massive arrests of demonstrators protesting against the Law on Private Land

Case MON 141102. ESCRC

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Mongolia.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a member of the OMCT network, of the mass arrests on November 13 2002 of demonstrators demanding that the Mongolian Law on privat land be reconsidered before implementation.

According to the information received, at 3 am on November 13 2002, more than 50 participants in a demonstration demanding for a reform of the Law on Private Land were arrested and sent to the so-called "Center of Identification" located in Denjiin Myanga in the northern part of Ulan Bator, Mongolia. The majority of those arrested were allegedly activists and members of the Democratic Party who supported the demonstration, called "Demonstration with 100 Tractors".

It is reported that during the operation, the police also seized 30 tractors standing in the Sukhbaatar Square or "Freedom Square", which has become since 1990 a space for Mongolians to freely express their political views. According to the information received, the tractors were seized while the tractor drivers were resting at night. These tractor drivers, though facing many obstacles along the way, had allegedly congregated at Ulan Bator on November 10, in order to hold the protest.

Moreover, it is reported that about 50 police officers locked 11 activists inside the Democratic Party office, arresting all those who attempted to exit from the building.

Background Information

These events occurred in the context of the adoption several months ago by the State Great Hural of Mongolia of a Law on Private Land, which is to be implemented from May 2003 onward. This law provides for a process of land privatisation that is to be the first one in the history of Mongolia, which is traditionally a nomadic country.

The demonstration was part of the Fair Land Privatisation Movement that opposes several key points within the present Land Law. In order to express their views and gain the attention of both the government and the public, the Fair Land Privatisation Movement and the Mongolian Democratic Union jointly organized their first mass demonstration, called "Demonstration with 100 Tractors", at the Freedom Square on November 4 2002, to demand that the implementation of the Law on Private Land be reconsidered before it will take effect on May 2003, so that the land privatisation be implemented in a fair and constitutional manner.

In this respect, the Fair Land Privatisation Movement demands that:

- Land shall be owned individually by Mongolian citizens and not by families as stated in the law;
- Land privatisation shall be implemented by a separate commission and not by the local administration;
- No land redistribution, including the forceful movement of city residents, shall be made before the law is implemented;
- Farmland shall be divided randomly by means of a lottery, but not by the local monopoly as stated in the law;
- All citizens shall be allowed to own land equally, and not as it is stated in the law, which provides for a similar size of land to each family, irrespectively of family size;
- All citizens shall be allowed to choose freely the location of their land, and not only urban citizens, as stated in the law.

Action Requested

Please write to the Mongolian authorities urging them to:

i. order the immediate release of the persons detained in connection with these events, in the absence of valid legal charges or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;

ii. guarantee an immediate investigation into the circumstances of these events, identify those responsible, bring them before a competent and impartial civil tribunal and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;

iii. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with international human rights standards, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.


. Mr. Natsagiin Bagabandi, President, Government House, Ulaanbaatar-12, Mongolia, Fax: +976 11 311121

. Mr.Nambar Enkhbayar, Prime Minister, Government House, Ulaanbaatar-12, Mongolia, Fax: +976 11 328329

. Mr. Nyamdorj Ts., Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs, Hudaldaanii Gudamj-61A, Ulaanbaatar- 46, Mongolia, Fax: + 976 11 325225

Please also write to the embassies of Mongolia in your respective country

Geneva, November 14, 2002

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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