Combined third and fourth periodic reports of States
The Committee considered the combined third and
fourth periodic reports of Mongolia (CEDAW/C/MNG/3-4)
at its 504th and 505th meetings, on 29 January 2001
(see CEDAW/C/SR.504 and 505).
(a) Introduction by the State party
In introducing the report, the representative of
Mongolia informed the Committee that Mongolia had
been one of the first countries to ratify the Convention
on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women,
in 1981. She also informed the Committee that, in
1998, the Parliament of Mongolia had accepted the
amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention.
Mongolia had signed the Optional Protocol to the
Convention in September 2000, and the procedures
towards ratification were under way in Parliament.
The representative emphasized that, during the 10
years since the submission of its second report,
Mongolia had seen radical changes in its political,
economic and social life. Mongolia had become a
country with a parliamentary Government and a multi-party
system. Mongolia had become party to 30 international
human rights treaties and had adopted relevant policies
and enacted or amended legislation in accordance
with its treaty obligations.
The representative informed the Committee that the
Mongolian Constitution prohibited discrimination
on the basis of sex. The rights of women to education
and employment, as well as to participate in politics,
were also protected by the Constitution and other
Reporting on action taken pursuant to the Convention,
the representative informed the Committee that legislation
had been amended and new legislation introduced
to integrate the basic tenets of the Convention
into the legislative framework and governmental
policies and programmes. National programmes had
been implemented to address the special needs of
rural women, and initiatives to introduce advanced
technology and create more job opportunities had
The representative highlighted the Health Law, which
had come into force in 1998, and the new Labour
Code, which contained specific provisions prohibiting
discrimination in the workplace. The Family Law
had come into force in 1999 and provided for women's
equal rights to inheritance, land use and ownership
of livestock and other property. The representative
said that the State Great Hural (Parliament) had
recently adopted the Law on the National Human Rights
Commission and that, in collaboration with international
organizations, the Government had launched a process
of a nationwide discussion to develop a national
programme on human rights.
The representative informed the Committee of some
of the achievements in implementing the Convention
in Mongolia. These included the creation of an appropriate
legal environment, an increase of the participation
of non-governmental organizations, the development
and implementation of gender policies and the high
level of education among women. Factors that had
hindered the full implementation of the Convention
included the lack of a specific national machinery,
the high maternal mortality rate, the low participation
of women in political decision-making, the discrepancies
between various geographical areas and social groups,
the rise in domestic violence against women and
the lack of legal literacy among women.
The representative concluded by reporting on the
Government's strategies for future implementation
of the Convention. These were the improvement of
the national coordination and integrating mechanism,
the establishment of an integrated database, ongoing
analysis of existing laws, a comprehensive review
of the rural sector and the strengthening of cooperation
between governmental and non-governmental organizations
to promote the legal literacy of women.
(b) Concluding comments of the Committee
242. The Committee expresses its satisfaction at
the submission of the combined third and fourth
periodic reports of Mongolia and the answers to
the questions of the pre-sessional working group.
It welcomes the oral updating statement, in particular
the various strategies envisaged for the future
implementation of the Convention.
The Committee commends the Government for ratifying
the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the
Convention and for taking steps to ratify the Optional
The Committee notes that some legislative reforms
regarding women have been undertaken, namely, provisions
prohibiting discrimination in the workplace and
provisions that allow for women's equal rights to
inheritance, land use and ownership of livestock
and other property. It also notes the Government's
recognition of women's non-governmental organizations.
The Committee commends the progress made in providing
women with access to education and the achievement
of high levels of participation at the tertiary
The Committee welcomes the efforts made to undertake
a situation analysis of women in Mongolia and to
develop a national programme of action for the advancement
of women, with technical support from international
Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation
of the Convention
The Committee notes that the persistence of stereotypical
and patriarchal attitudes to the role of women in
the family and the community prevents the enjoyment
by women of human rights and denies them the opportunity
to participate fully in national development.
The Committee considers that the negative effects
of the country's ongoing transition to a market
economy are major impediments to the full implementation
of the Convention.
Principal areas of concern and recommendations
The Committee notes with deep concern the deteriorating
situation of women in Mongolia in a period of economic
transformation. It expresses its particular concern
that the Government has failed to prevent the erosion
of women's rights to economic advancement, health,
education, political participation and personal
The Committee urges the Government to protect and
promote women's human rights and to utilize the
development and technical resources available as
well as the human resources of the country, including
civil society and women's groups, so as to reverse
The Committee expresses concern that poverty is
widespread among women as a consequence of privatization
and other factors linked to the transition to a
The Committee calls upon the Government to collect
data and information on women living in poverty,
disaggregated by age and according to urban and
rural areas; to develop targeted policies and support
services; to make efforts to prevent more women
from falling below the poverty line; and in particular
to address the situation of households headed by
The Committee expresses its concern that, although
the Constitution provides for the equality of all
citizens before the law, it does not reflect the
definition of discrimination in article 1 of the
Convention, which prohibits both direct and indirect
discrimination. It also expresses its concern that
there are no remedies available to women to redress
violations of their rights.
The Committee calls upon the Government to undertake
legal reforms so as to ensure that the full meaning
of article 1 of the Convention is reflected in the
country's Constitution and legislation, and that
constitutional rights are enforceable.
The Committee notes that a series of laws have been
enacted but have not been analysed for their potentially
discriminatory impact on women. It expresses its
concern that laws are not effectively enforced so
as to protect women's human rights.
The Committee calls upon the Government to review
and reform all gender discriminatory laws, in consultation
with professional and women's groups. It urges the
Government to strengthen law enforcement and to
provide effective remedies through the courts. The
Committee requests the Government to develop legal
literacy programmes for the community and gender-sensitization
programmes for judges and law-enforcement officials.
The Committee notes with concern that Mongolia has
not yet specifically developed gender-sensitization
and legal literacy programmes for its large population
of young people.
The Committee calls upon the Government to extend
its distance education programmes for young people
so as to include programmes on gender education
as soon as possible. The Committee considers that
the young people can be an important resource in
changing stereotypical and patriarchal attitudes
The Committee expresses its concern that the high
achievement levels of women in education are not
reflected in their participation in national and
local legislative bodies, and in decision-making
posts in administration.
The Committee urges the Government to introduce
temporary special measures, in conformity with the
Convention, and programmes on public awareness and
human rights education that will create a supportive
environment for women's greater participation in
The Committee expresses its deep concern that the
phenomenon of violence against women has not been
adequately addressed in laws, policies and programmes.
It expresses particular concern at the long delay
in enacting the proposed legislation on domestic
The Committee urges the Government to enact the
proposed domestic violence law, including marital
rape provisions, to strengthen law enforcement and
to develop a holistic range of initiatives to respond
to violence against women in the light of general
recommendation 19 of the Committee and the Declaration
on the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The Committee notes that a range of institutions
and agencies deal with gender issues in an ad hoc
manner and do not coordinate their work. The Committee
expresses its concern that, although the Government
has recognized the weakness of the national machinery,
it has not provided information on new initiatives
to address this problem.
The Committee urges the Government to establish
strong and effective national machinery so that
the Convention and the Beijing Platform for Action
can be integrated into development plans. It considers
that gender mainstreaming must be effectively coordinated
and monitored. The Committee recommends that gender
concerns be integrated into the work of the Commission
on Human Rights and that women be appointed as members
of this body.
The Committee expresses its concern that limited
steps have been taken to combat prostitution and
trafficking of women.
The Committee urges the Government to take steps
to prosecute persons engaged in organizing prostitution
and to adopt effective measures to combat trafficking
The Committee expresses its deep concern at the
negative impact of privatization on women's access
to adequate health care and education.
The Committee calls upon the Government to ensure
that these services are not reduced and that, in
particular, the areas of health and education do
not suffer as a result of privatization.
The Committee expresses its concern that Mongolia
places the responsibility of family and childcare
exclusively on women, particularly as the population
policy encourages women to have large families.
It notes that this situation encourages their marginalization
in the economy and exacerbates poverty.
The Committee urges the Government to develop laws,
policies and educational programmes that support
and promote the idea of joint parental responsibility
and prevent discrimination against women because
of their family responsibilities.
The Committee expresses its concern about the high
level of unemployment of women.
The Committee urges the Government to establish
a legislative basis that will ensure women equal
access to the labour market and equal opportunities
to work and prevent direct and indirect discrimination
in employment. It calls upon the Government to implement
unemployment policies aimed at reducing the level
of unemployment of women.
The Committee expresses its concern with regard
to women's health throughout their life cycle. The
Committee also expresses its concern that economic
hardship impacts negatively on women's reproductive
and mental health. In particular, the Committee
notes with concern the acute problem of maternal
mortality, owing in part to abortions performed
under unsafe conditions and the non-availability
of family planning services.
The Committee urges the Government to maintain adequate
safe, affordable and accessible physical and mental
health services for women throughout their life
cycle. It also urges the Government to increase
access, particularly in the rural areas, to affordable
contraceptives for women and men, and to provide
sex education to girls and boys.
The Committee expresses its concern that much of
the information provided in the oral and written
responses was not related to the current situation
of women in Mongolia.
The Committee requests that the Government provide
pertinent information on the situation of women
in its next report, as well as information on the
other concerns raised in the present concluding
The Committee encourages the Government to ratify
the Optional Protocol to the Convention.
The Committee requests the wide dissemination in
Mongolia of the present concluding comments in order
to make the people, in particular governmental administrators
and politicians, aware of the steps that have been
taken to ensure the de jure and de facto equality
of women and of the further steps that are required
in this regard. It requests the Government to continue
to disseminate widely, in particular to women's
and human rights organizations, the Convention and
its Optional Protocol, the Committee's general recommendations,
the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
and the results of the twenty-third special session
of the General Assembly, entitled "Women 2000:
gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first