Mongolia strikes down the death penalty - but time to move against torture
"Mongolia's courageous move earlier this year to strike the death penalty from its law books is to be highly congratulated", APT Secretary General Mark Thomson stated today. "The time now is to take decisive steps against torture and ill-treatment".
"Just as Mongolia hurled the death penalty well and truly into the dustbin of history by ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in January, it should now do the same with torture by swiftly ratifying the OPCAT", he added.
The question of Mongolia ratifying the OPCAT is not a new issue. It has been under discussion for several years in Mongolia, going back as far as June 2005 when the then UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, visited the country on a fact-finding mission. Since then there have been various meetings to discuss this key recommendation of the former UN Special Rapporteur.
Mongolia's November 2010 examination by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva was also a crucial moment. During its Universal Periodic Review Mongolia committed itself to ratify the OPCAT.
It is therefore time – nearly a year-and-a-half later – to take stock of the progress which has been made to act on this international commitment. In the coming days the APT and its partners (please see below) will host a series of events in Ulaanbaatar aimed at constructively promoting a national dialogue on the ratification and implementation of the OPCAT.
During the week beginning 23 April the APT and its partners are joining forces to take stock of such progress and will co-host several events. These will include an OPCAT hearing with parliamentarians on 23 April, an OPCAT seminar on 24 April and an OPCAT training workshop for representatives of the National Human Rights Commission on 25 April. It is hoped that these activities will bear fruit in the coming months in the form of Mongolia moving towards ratification of the OPCAT.
Like the death penalty, acts of abuse and unacceptable conditions of detention should be made things of the past in Mongolia.
The APT’s partners in the project are Amnesty International Mongolia, Asia Pacific Forum and the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia. This project is kindly being funded by the Open Society Institute as part of a two-year three-country torture-prevention project. The project covers Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.