1. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered
the third periodic report of Mongolia on the implementation of the
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/1994/104/Add.21)
at its 34th, 35th and 36th meetings, held on 17 and 18 August 2000,
and adopted, at its 49th meeting held on 28 August 2000, the following
2. The Committee
welcomes the submission of the third periodic report of Mongolia,
which has been prepared in conformity with the revised reporting guidelines
established by the Committee. The Committee deeply regrets the absence
of the State party delegation. This absence is particularly unfortunate
because the State party had submitted information for the consideration
of the Committee. A constructive dialogue with the delegation would
have enabled the Committee to understand more deeply the social and
economic processes under way in the country.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee
notes with appreciation the move towards democracy in Mongolia and
the recently held free and fair elections reflecting the will of the
4. The Committee
commends the State party for the formulation of the National Plan
of Action for Human Rights and notes that the State party is taking
steps towards establishing a national human rights institution. The
Committee also welcomes its collaboration with the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which has resulted in
a number of valuable projects and activities advancing the promotion
and protection of human rights in Mongolia.
5. The Committee
notes with appreciation the State party's efforts to continue to enact
legislation forming the basis for the implementation of human rights
standards. In particular, the Committee commends the inclusion in
the Constitution of an anti-discrimination clause which prohibits,
inter alia, discrimination based on age.
6. The Committee
welcomes the information provided by the State party with regard to
the adoption and implementation of national strategies and policies
to address the plight of various vulnerable groups, particularly women
7. The Committee
notes with appreciation that the State party is developing international
cooperation with a view to resolving the social and economic problems
of its population. The Committee notes in particular the "Poverty
Partnership Agreement" signed by the State party with the Asian Development
Bank. This agreement allows Mongolia to draw US$ 40 million per year
for poverty reduction, the achievement of full primary education and
the reduction of infant mortality rates by 50 per cent by 2005.
8. The Committee
welcomes the efforts undertaken by the State party in relation to
various educational initiatives, including the non-formal distance
education project for women in the Gobi region.
C. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the
9. The Committee
is aware that the State party is currently experiencing great difficulties
in the process of transition to a market economy. These difficulties
are due, inter alia, to the sudden interruption of economic
links with the former Soviet Union, and the discontinuance of various
types of assistance previously received, which accounted for almost
30 per cent of GDP in 1990. This influenced the closure or downsizing
of State enterprises and gave rise to great increases in unemployment
and to a serious lowering of standards of living. The concurrent deterioration
in the State party's terms of trade in international markets and the
Asian economic crisis further aggravated Mongolia's economic situation.
The Committee acknowledges that problems related to these matters
seriously hamper the State party's ability to comply with its obligations
under the Covenant.
10. The Committee
also acknowledges that the existing divergence between available resources
and the needs of the people is further exacerbated by the recent extreme
climatic conditions prevailing in Mongolia, which also constitute
a serious impediment to the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural
rights in the country.
subjects of concern
11. The Committee
expresses its concern about the negative consequences of the transition
process on a large part of the Mongolian population. According to
World Bank figures from 1998, 35 per cent of the population lives
below the weighted national average poverty line and 18 per cent of
the population is destitute. The Committee is also deeply concerned
about the information submitted by the State party that the social
safety nets put in place to minimize the impact of the transition
have had only a limited effect in curbing the extent and depth of
12. The Committee
is deeply concerned about the adverse effects of the prevailing traditional
values and practices and of poverty on women. The Committee deplores
the lack of facilities and the inefficiency of remedies for victims
of domestic violence, which is estimated to affect a third of the
country's women. The Committee is also concerned about discrimination
against pregnant women and sexual harassment of women in the workplace.
Furthermore, the Committee expresses concern at the absence of women
at senior levels, both at work and in public office.
13. The Committee
is deeply disturbed that the State party has not been able to mitigate
the adverse effects of poverty on children, who represent 42 per cent
of the Mongolian population. In particular, the Committee is concerned
about the extent of the phenomenon of street children, whose numbers
are currently estimated at 30,000, 60 per cent of whom live in Ulaanbaatar
in deplorable conditions with inadequate nutrition and susceptible
to disease, violence, sexual and economic exploitation, substance
abuse and mental trauma.
14. The Committee
regrets to learn, from information submitted by the State party and
reinforced by information from the Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations (FAO), about growing food insecurity among vulnerable
groups such as children, the unemployed, older persons, female-headed
households, pensioners and small herders. The Committee notes that
this grave situation is compounded by last year's drought and this
year's harsh winter, which has killed more than 2 million head of
15. The Committee
is disturbed to learn about the deteriorating health situation for
Mongolians since 1990 and regrets that government expenditure on health
has decreased in recent years (according to the government submission,
public expenditure on health fell from 5.8 per cent of GDP in 1991
to 3.6 per cent in 1998). The challenges faced by the State party
include improving access to health-care services in rural areas and
for the poor, the relatively low life expectancy, the increase in
non-communicable and degenerative diseases, as well as sexually transmitted
diseases, substance abuse, child suicide, high maternal mortality,
especially in rural areas, and limited access to contraceptives. The
Committee is concerned that there is no policy response to address
increasing substance abuse and child and adolescent suicide.
16. The Committee
notes with concern the degrading conditions for detainees, who have
been reported to suffer from overcrowding, inadequate medical care
and hygiene and from malnourishment.
17. The Committee
regrets to learn about the decrease in government spending on education
since 1990 and the subsequent deterioration in the quality of education.
The Committee is particularly concerned about the high incidence of
school drop-out, most common among herder families where children
have to work.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
18. The Committee
recommends that the State party provide information, in its fourth
periodic report, on the exact status of the Covenant in the Mongolian
national legal system.
19. The Committee
encourages the State party to establish, as soon as possible, a national
human rights institution which conforms to the Paris Principles (1991).
20. The Committee
recommends that the State party, in its fourth periodic report, include
a copy of its up-to-date human rights national plan of action for
human rights, prepared in accordance with the Vienna Declaration and
Plan of Action (1993), and report on its implementation.
21. The Committee
recommends that the State party continue to seek international cooperation
and assistance, as provided for in articles 2.1 and 23 of the Covenant,
to enhance its efforts to improve the implementation of economic,
social and cultural rights in Mongolia. The Committee would appreciate
information, in the fourth periodic report of Mongolia, on the status
of the "Poverty Partnership Agreement" signed with the Asian Development
regard to poverty, the Committee notes the National Human Development
Plan (NHDP) and the National Poverty Alleviation Programme (NPAP)
established by the Government with a view to reducing poverty. The
Committee urges the State party to continue to direct resources to
those most in need, and to report to the Committee on the results
of its efforts in the context of the programmes cited above in its
fourth periodic report. In this regard, the Committee would like to
remind the State party of its obligation, even under severe resource
constraints, to protect the vulnerable groups of society, as stated
in paragraph 12 of the Committee's General Comment No. 3.
23. The Committee
calls on the State party to enforce efficiently in practice labour
legislation prohibiting discrimination against women in employment,
such as prohibition of the dismissal of pregnant women and the criminalization
of sexual harassment. The Committee urges the State party to organize
public campaigns to raise awareness about domestic violence, to criminalize
spousal rape and to provide victims with shelters and adequate remedies.
24. The Committee
urges the State party to continue to address, as a matter of urgency,
the immediate nutritional needs of its population, including through
international humanitarian assistance, and draws, in this regard,
the attention of the State party to its General Comment No. 12, paragraph
25. The Committee
recommends that the State party continue taking steps to ensure that
persons living in remote areas have progressively greater access to
essential health services and, in this respect, draws the attention
of the State party to its recent General Comment No. 14 on the right
to health. The Committee would appreciate information on a comparative
basis, in the fourth periodic report of the State party, on the "Health
Sector Development Programme" (1998) supported by the Asian Development
Bank, as well as on progress made in improving the health status and
health-care coverage of the population.
26. The Committee
recommends that the State party seek to address, independently and
through international cooperation, the problems it is facing in enhancing
the quality of school curricula, and in addressing the educational
difficulties confronting Mongolia, such as its high drop-out rate.
27. The Committee
requests that the State party disseminate these concluding observations
as widely as possible among its citizens.
28. The Committee
requests the State party to address, in its fourth periodic report,
the implementation of these concluding observations.
29. The Committee
requests the State party to submit its fourth periodic report before
30 June 2003.