Friday, July 4, 2008

WFDA urge Mongolian government to uphold fundamental human rights

Statement from the World Forum on Democratization in Asia regarding post election conflict in Mongolia.

Asian Democrats express concern about Post-election conflict in Mongolia

3rd July, 2008

The World Forum on Democratization in Asia (WFDA) is gravely concerned about recent developments in Mongolia following the parliamentary elections on 29 June, notably the eruption of violence among protests of alleged election fraud and the imposition on 1 July of a four-day state of emergency by President Nambariin Enkhbayar in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbataar.

Although Mongolia’s General Election Committee has yet to report the final results, preliminary results suggest that the ruling Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has won a significant majority in the 76-seat parliament. However, allegations of fraud have been raised by opposition parties and some independent candidates. An initially peaceful protest quickly deteriorated into a violent confrontation between angry young men and police outside MPRP headquarters.

WFDA firmly repudiates the violent acts carried out by all those involved in Monday’s bloody confrontation, which resulted in at least five deaths and 300 injuries. We are particularly disturbed by reports that party leaders on both sides may have had a hand in the provocation of violence, as well as allegations that the police did not take effective steps to calm the situation at an early stage. WFDA calls on all political actors to exercise restraint and cease incitement of their supporters, and urges security forces to fulfill their obligation to preserve and protect the fundamental rights of the Mongolian public.

We are also concerned about the widespread allegations of electoral fraud, and we call on the General Election Committee and related authorities to investigate all credible accusations thoroughly and impartially. If necessary, the Committee should delay the publication of final results to allow these investigations to be carried out properly. Such steps are urgently needed to address voters’ legitimate concerns and to restore confidence in the election process.

Finally, we also urge the Mongolian government to continue to uphold fundamental human rights during the current state of emergency, including the rights of the more than 700 people detained in connection with these events, who are reportedly at risk of inhumane treatment. In addition, we call on President Enkhbayar to lift the ban on all radio and television channels other than Mongolian National Public Radio and Television. In this critical period, media and civil society groups must, if anything, redouble their efforts to hold the government and security forces accountable.

The post-election turmoil reveals the deep-seated problems of Mongolia’s young democracy. Therefore, WFDA strongly supports continued efforts by Mongolian civil society organizations to protect and promote democracy, human rights, and peace in Mongolia.

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