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Press Release: UN expert calls on Mongolia to adopt law protecting human rights defenders

A Human Rights Defender Law has been drafted by the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia with the support of civil society.

GENEVA (1 December 2020) – A UN human rights expert today called upon the Mongolian parliament to move forward with a ground-breaking law to protect people who stand up for human rights in the Central Asian country.

“Mongolia has a chance to be a regional leader, and I urge all parliamentarians to support this important law, which would make it easier for human rights defenders to continue their important work,” said Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

The Human Rights Defender Law, drafted by the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia with the support of civil society, was submitted to Parliament, the Great State Khural, in May, and should be on its agenda for discussion before mid-December. The law includes a definition of human rights defenders in line with international standards, and provides for their protection. It also foresees establishment of an independent body to prevent and respond to violations of their rights.

“I commend the submission of this law to the parliament, and I hope that all political parties will support it unanimously,” said Lawlor. “If enacted, this law would be the first of its kind in the region, and will send a strong signal of Mongolia’s commitment to human rights.”


Ms Mary Lawlor, (Ireland) is the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Business and Human Rights in Trinity College Dublin. She was the founder of Front Line Defenders - the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. As Executive Director from 2001-2016, she represented Front Line Defenders and had a key role in its development. Ms. Lawlor was the Director of the Irish Section of Amnesty International from 1988 to 2000, became a Board member in 1975 and was elected Chair from 1983 to 1987.

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