Friday, July 4, 2008

National Election, Mongolia June - July 2008

The chain of events…

On Sunday 29th of June Mongolia held its national election.

On Monday 30th of June during the initial counting of the votes many electoral observers and Mongolian citizens begun reporting cases of electoral fraud.

In preliminary counts it appeared that the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) had the majority of seats, thus indicating victory. This result is being strongly questioned and contested by citizens, media, opposition forces and civil society.

In response to these allegations of electoral fraud citizens organised gatherings in order to protest the election results. Soon after, the Democratic Party and the smaller parties joined these gatherings.

On Tuesday 1st of July protesters gathered at Sukhbaatar square outside the Mongolian Parliamentary Building. Later that afternoon, the protesters marched to the MPRP building where they were met by a wall of riot police armed with batons.

Over ten thousand people participated in the peaceful protest. Towards the evening however some of the protesters, mostly young men, became involved in a violent confrontation with the police. The violence escalated due to poor management on behalf of police leadership, and a large number of disenfranchised youth who appear to have joined the disorder. This situation resulted in the burning, looting and significant damage of the MPRP building, surrounding area and property. The police retaliated with the use of tear gas and rubber bullets.

(Image found on flickr 'william...'s')

During the protest and subsequent violence 718 people were arrested, over 60 people sustained serious injuries and five deaths were reported. Serious concern surrounds three of these deaths as it is alleged real bullets caused the deaths.

On Tuesday July 2nd at midnight, the Mongolian President N. Enkhbayar issued a four-day state of emergency. According to the decree:

1. To strengthen the security of objects of state significance.

2. Using forces permitted by the law, to break up any kinds of demonstrations and mass activities arranged with infringing the law.

3. To restrict the traffic movement in the central part of the capital and check motor vehicles.

4. Using forces, to disperse and arrest persons and groups of people who break the public order and arrange actions with use of forces and examine whether they have arms and technical devices.

5. To impose a curfew from 22.00 p.m. to 08.00 a.m. in the central part of the capital; to check persons breaking it; to arrest individuals having no ID cards with forces of the police or military patrol in the period until the end of the state of emergency or for 72 hours after having been identified.

6. To ban the use of sound devices such as loudspeakers and to stop activities of all television and radio outlets with the exception of the national public television and radio service until the end of the state of emergency.

7. To prohibit the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages.

8. To monitor individuals with access to firearms and cold steel, over entities and plants using explosives, virulent chemicals, and radioactive substances, and over military arms and techniques used in training.

9. To charge the Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs Ts. Monkh-Orgil with the responsibility of organising all actions for implementing the decree.

(Image found on flickr 'william...'s')

Fear of Violations of Human Rights

There is now great concern for the safety of 718 women, men and children arrested during the riots. Reports are being received from family members regarding the inhuman treatment and torture of detainees currently being held in detention.

Due to the limited media coverage and concerns for the human rights of the detainees, civil organisations within Mongolia are working together to advocate and ensure their ongoing welfare.

This blog has been set up as an alternative form of media in order to provide information on the current human rights issues in Mongolia. It is also hoped that the dissemination of this information will encourage transparency and accountability to ensure human rights are upheld during and after the current state of emergency.

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