Concluding observations on the combined eighth and ninth periodic reports of Mongolia *
1.The Committee considered the combined eighth and ninth periodic reports of Mongolia (CEDAW/C/MNG/8-9) at its 1381st and 1382nd meetings, on 19 February 2016 (see CEDAW/C/SR.1381 and 1382). The Committee’s list of issues and questions is contained in CEDAW/C/MNG/Q/8-9 and the responses of Mongolia are contained in CEDAW/C/MNG/Q/8-9/Add.1.
2.The Committee appreciates the submission by the State party of its combined eighth and ninth periodic reports. It also appreciates the State party’s written replies to the list of issues and questions raised by the pre-sessional working group and welcomes the oral presentation of the delegation and the further clarifications provided in response to the questions posed orally by the Committee during the dialogue.
3.The Committee commends the State party on its delegation, which was headed by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection, Gocho Narangerel, and comprised representatives of the Ministry of Health and Sports, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection, the Ministry of Justice and the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva.
4.The Committee welcomes the progress achieved since the consideration in 2008 of the State party’s seventh periodic report (CEDAW/C/MNG/7) in undertaking legislative reforms, in particular the adoption of the following:
(a)Law on Persons with Disabilities, in 2016;
(b)Law on Childcare Services, in 2015;
(c)Revised Criminal Code, which criminalizes domestic violence, prohibits discrimination on various grounds and outlaws hate crimes and hate speech, in 2015;
(d)Law on Victim and Witness Protection, which provides protection to girls and women who are victims of violence, in 2013;
(e)Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons, in 2012;
(f)Law on the Promotion of Gender Equality, in 2011.
5.The Committee welcomes the State party’s efforts to improve its policy framework aimed at accelerating the elimination of discrimination against women and advancing women’s rights, including the adoption of the following:
(a)Midterm Strategy and Action Plan on the Implementation of the Law on the Promotion of Gender Equality (2013-2016), in 2013;
(b)National Strategy on Maternal and Infant Health (2011-2015).
6.The Committee welcomes the fact that, in the period since the consideration of the previous report, the State party has ratified or acceded to the following international instruments:
(a)Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in 2015;
(b)International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, in 2015;
(c)Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, in 2012;
(d)Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in 2009.
C.Principal areas of concern and recommendations
7. The Committee stresses the crucial role of the legislative power in ensuring the full implementation of the Convention (see the statement by the Committee on its relationship with parliamentarians, adopted at the forty-fifth session, in 2010). It invites the Great Khural, in line with its mandate, to take the necessary steps regarding the implementation of the present concluding observations between now and the next reporting period under the Convention.
Constitutional and legislative framework
8.The Committee welcomes the adoption of the Law on the Promotion of Gender Equality (2011), which prohibits gender discrimination. However, it is concerned:
(a)That the new legislative reforms for the advancement of women lack adequate resources for their implementation and accountability;
(b)That there is insufficient knowledge among the branches of government of the rights of women under the Convention and the Optional Protocol thereto, and of the concept of substantive equality of women and men and the Committee’s general recommendations;
(c)That there is a lack of information on women’s access to justice and on court cases in which provisions of the Convention have been directly invoked or applied;
(d)That women themselves, especially those in rural areas and those belonging to disadvantaged groups, are unaware of their rights under the Convention and thus lack the information necessary to claim them.
9. The Committee urges the State party:
(a) To establish strong accountability mechanisms and allocate adequate human, technical and financial resources for the implementation of laws in accordance with the rights of women under the Constitution and the Convention;
(b) To ensure that the Convention, the Optional Protocol and the Committee ’ s general recommendations are sufficiently known and applied by all branches of government, including the judiciary, as a framework for laws, court decisions and policies on gender equality and the advancement of women;
(c) To enhance women ’ s awareness of their rights and the remedies available to them to claim violations of their rights under the Convention, and ensure that information on the Convention, the Optional Protocol and the Committee ’ s general recommendations is provided to all women, including rural women.
Access to justice and legal complaint mechanisms
10.The Committee notes that the National Human Rights Commission has the authority to receive and review complaints in relation to discrimination on grounds of gender and to ensure monitoring of the implementation of the Convention. It is concerned, however, that public awareness of access to justice and legal complaint mechanisms among women, in particular those living in rural areas, is very low. It is also concerned at the lack of measures taken to ensure effective monitoring of the implementation of the Convention and international human rights instruments.
11. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Enhance women ’ s awareness of their rights and their legal literacy in all areas of the law, to empower women to claim their rights under the Convention;
(b) Strengthen the National Human Rights Commission to ensure its independence by providing it with the human, technical and financial resources necessary to effectively monitor the implementation of the Convention;
(c) Improve cooperation between the National Human Rights Commission and civil society organizations and other stakeholders to ensure the protection and realization of the rights of all groups of women without discrimination.
National machinery for the advancement of women
12.The Committee is concerned that the secretariat of the National Committee on Gender Equality, the core part of the national machinery for the advancement of women, was placed under the Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection in 2014 and that its human and financial resources have been reduced, which may impede the effective implementation of the Convention. While noting the adoption of the Midterm Strategy and Action Plan on the Implementation of the Law on the Promotion of Gender Equality (2013-2016), the Committee is concerned that no proper monitoring or accountability mechanism have been established. It is also concerned at the lack of information provided on cooperation on women’s rights issues between the National Committee with the parliament and civil society.
13. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Strengthen the National Committee on Gender Equality by providing it with the human, technical and financial resources necessary to effectively implement the Convention and ensure that it works in a decentralized manner;
(b) Put in place monitoring mechanisms to regularly assess the progress made towards the achievement of the goals established in the Midterm Strategy and Action Plan on the Implementation of the Law on the Promotion of Gender Equality (2013 - 2016);
(c) Ensure that the National Committee on Gender Equality cooperates with the parliament and civil society, in particular women ’ s organizations, in the implementation of the Midterm Strategy and Action Plan.
Temporary special measures
14.The Committee notes with appreciation that the State party has re-established a minimum quota of 30 per cent for women candidates on the electoral lists of political parties in parliamentary elections. The Committee is concerned, however, about the lack of implementation in practice of temporary special measures in the State party.
15. In line with article 4 (1) of the Convention and recalling its general recommendation No. 25 (2004) on temporary special measures, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Provide capacity-building to all relevant State officials and policymakers and to political parties in particular on the concept of temporary special measures and adopt and implement such measures, including time ‑ bound goals and quotas, directed at achieving substantive equality of women and men in all areas in which women are underrepresented or disadvantaged, including in public and political life, education, health and employment;
(b) Address the root causes of the weak implementation of existing temporary special measures and adopt legislation to encourage the use of temporary special measures covering both the public and private sectors.
16.The Committee remains concerned at the persistence in the media and in society of deep-rooted patriarchal attitudes and discriminatory stereotypes concerning the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family, which perpetuate women’s subordination within the family and society and which are reflected, inter alia, in women’s educational and professional choices, their limited participation in political and public life, their unequal participation in the labour market and their unequal status in family relations. The Committee recalls that such discriminatory stereotypes are also root causes of violence against women and expresses concern that, to date, the State party has not taken sustained measures to modify or eliminate discriminatory stereotypes and negative traditional attitudes.
17. The Committee urges the State party:
(a) To put in place, without delay, a comprehensive strategy, with proactive and sustained measures targeting women and men at all levels of society, to eliminate discriminatory stereotypes and patriarchal attitudes concerning the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society;
(b) To use innovative measures targeting the media to strengthen understanding of the substantive equality of women and men and to enhance positive and non-stereotypical portrayals of women in all areas, with special emphasis on the education system.
Violence against women
18.The Committee notes with appreciation the adoption in 2015 of the revised Criminal Code, which criminalizes domestic violence and other forms of violence, such as stalking, threats and sexual exploitation, against women and girls, including those belonging to sexual minorities, and appreciates that perpetrators can no longer avoid penalties by reconciling with victims. It also notes that the revised bill on combating domestic violence contains an expanded definition of domestic violence. The Committee remains concerned, however, at the delay in the adoption of the bill. It also remains concerned at the high prevalence of violence against women, in particular domestic and sexual violence, in the State party and at the lack of statistical information thereon. While noting the establishment of a special police unit to prevent domestic violence and crimes against children, the Committee is concerned that there is only one State-run shelter for victims of violence. The Committee is also concerned that women and girls with disabilities do not have access to shelters for victims of violence or to adequate assistance and victim support services, and that there is no training for officers, social workers or medical personnel on the specific needs and vulnerabilities of women with disabilities who are victims of violence.
19. Recalling its general recommendation No. 19 (1992) on violence against women, the Committee urges the State party:
(a) To accelerate the adoption of the bill on the prevention of domestic violence, adopt comprehensive measures to prevent and address violence against women and girls and ensure that women and girls who are victims of violence have access to immediate means of redress, including compensation and protection, and that perpetrators are prosecuted and adequately punished;
(b) To provide mandatory capacity-building programmes for judges, prosecutors, police officers and other law enforcement officials on the strict application of legislation criminalizing violence against women and on gender ‑ sensitive procedures to deal with women who are victims of violence, in particular women with disabilities;
(c) Provide adequate assistance and protection to women who are victims of violence by establishing shelters, including in rural areas, and enhancing cooperation with non-governmental organizations that provide shelter and rehabilitation to victims;
(d) Collect statistical data on domestic, sexual and other forms of violence against women, disaggregated by age and the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator;
(e) Provide adequate conditions for redress and rehabilitation for women with disabilities who are victims of violence.
Trafficking and exploitation of prostitution
20.The Committee notes the establishment in 2012 of a subcouncil for the prevention of trafficking to coordinate the implementation of the Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons (2012). The Committee is concerned, however, at:
(a)The limited financial resources allocated to the implementation of existing legislation and programmes, in particular preventive programmes, to address the root causes of trafficking among girls and their families living in poverty and the insufficient protection and rehabilitation measures for women and girls who are victims of trafficking;
(b)The delay in the adoption of a national action plan on combating trafficking in persons;
(c)The lack of information on the number of complaints, investigations, prosecutions and convictions relating to trafficking in women and girls and exploitation of prostitution and on victim support and rehabilitation programmes;
(d)The lack of efforts to raise awareness among the judiciary, law enforcement officers, border control officials, social workers and health workers of the importance of early referral of victims of trafficking and of gender-sensitive ways to deal with them;
(e)Discrimination against and stigmatization of women in prostitution, the absence of shelters and crisis centres for women in prostitution adapted to their needs and the lack of exit and reintegration programmes for women who wish to leave prostitution.
21. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Fully enforce its legislation on trafficking in persons and increase the financial resources allocated to the implementation of laws and programmes to combat trafficking;
(b) Finalize and adopt without delay a national action plan on combating of trafficking in persons;
(c) Build the capacity of the judiciary, law enforcement officers, border control officers, social workers and health workers with respect to the early referral of victims of trafficking and gender-sensitive ways to deal with them;
(d) Address the root causes of trafficking by enhancing educational and economic opportunities for women and girls and their families, thereby reducing their vulnerability to exploitation by traffickers;
(e) Adopt a comprehensive approach to addressing the phenomenon of prostitution, provide shelters and crisis centres, exit and reintegration programmes, and alternative income generation opportunities for women who wish to leave prostitution and take measures to reduce the demand for prostitution;
(f) Provide in its next periodic report comprehensive information and data on trafficking in women and girls, including on the number of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers, and on women in prostitution.
Participation in political and public life
22.While welcoming the increased participation of women in public service and in the judiciary, the Committee remains concerned at the low percentage of women in political and public life, in particular in decision-making positions, including in the parliament, notwithstanding the 30 per cent quota for women candidates on party lists and in public administration, owing to persistent traditional and patriarchal attitudes, the lack of effective temporary special measures, limited access to political networks, insufficient capacity-building and campaign funding for potential women candidates and the compulsory financial contribution known as “the candidate tax”. The Committee is also concerned that there have been no appointments of women as governors of provinces or cities. It is further concerned that article 11 (5) of the Law on Elections (2015) restricts the right of persons with disabilities, including women, to vote and to stand for election.
23. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Take measures to increase the equal participation of women in political and public life at all levels and sectors, in particular decision-making positions, in the parliament and the Government, by:
(i) Effectively implementing the existing 30 per cent quota for women candidates on the electoral lists of political parties, including by ensuring that women candidates are given higher rankings on electoral lists and/or circumscriptions;
(ii) Providing capacity-building training to women candidates, especially on efficient campaigning, gaining access to financing and political networks and making use of the media;
(b) Adopt targeted measures, including training, gender-sensitive recruitment and temporary special measures, to ensure that women are appointed to decision-making positions at both the national and local levels, on an equal footing with their male counterparts, in line with the Committee ’ s general recommendation No. 23 (1997) on political and public life;
(c) Remove the “ candidate tax ” , which poses a significant obstacle to women candidates;
(d) Conduct awareness-raising activities for politicians, community leaders, journalists and the general public on the importance of women ’ s participation in decision-making, in order to enhance understanding that the full, equal, free and democratic participation of women on an equal basis with men in political and public life is a requirement for the effective implementation of the Convention and the development of society and the economy;
(e) Take measures to appoint women to high-level positions, for instance as governors of provinces or cities;
(f) Repeal without delay the provisions of the Law on Elections (2015) that restrict the right to vote of persons with disabilities, including women, and ensure that disability is a prohibited ground for discrimination under the Law.
24.The Committee notes with appreciation the high literacy rate among women and the high rates of girls’ enrolment in primary and secondary education, but it remains concerned:
(a)That, while sexual and reproductive health and rights have been included in the curriculum, a clear gender perspective appears to be lacking;
(b)At the persistence of violence, in particular sexual violence and abuse, in schools and school dormitories, which results in a high number of teenage pregnancies;
(c)At the practice of removing pregnant girls from school and providing them with alternative forms of education rather than opportunities for reintegration into the formal education system;
(d)That national legislation does not provide for inclusive and accessible education for girls with disabilities.
25. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Integrate age-appropriate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights into school curricula, incorporating a clear gender perspective, including sex education for adolescent girls and boys covering gender relations and responsible sexual behaviour;
(b) Investigate and prosecute cases of sexual violence and abuse by teachers and peers in schools and school dormitories and ensure that perpetrators are adequately punished and victims are provided with rehabilitation and redress;
(c) Put in place measures that allow for the retention of pregnant girls in school and the reintegration of young mothers after childbirth;
(d) Amend national legislation in order to guarantee inclusive and accessible education for girls with disabilities, including in rural areas, and provide training for teachers on their special educational needs.
26.The Committee is concerned at:
(a)The persistently wide and increasing gender pay gap in all sectors, the continued occupational segregation in the labour market and women’s concentration in low-paid jobs in the formal and informal sectors;
(b)The list of occupations that are prohibited for women, which appears to be overly protective by covering a range of occupations and branches where there is no objective justification for the prohibition, thereby limiting women’s economic opportunities in a number of areas, in particular in the mining industry;
(c)The limited mandate, capacity and effectiveness of the national labour inspection system;
(d)The early retirement age for women, limiting their employment opportunities and possibly reducing their old age pensions;
(e)The lack of information on legislation prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace and providing for civil and/or criminal remedies, as well as on the number of prosecutions, convictions and sentences imposed upon perpetrators.
27. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Intensify its efforts to create an enabling environment for women to become more economically independent, including by raising the awareness of employers in the public and private sectors of the prohibition of discrimination in employment against women, including women with disabilities, and to promote the entry of women into the formal economy, including through the provision of vocational and technical training;
(b) Effectively apply legislation guaranteeing equal pay for work of equal value, adopt measures to narrow and close the gender pay gap and regularly review wages in sectors in which women are concentrated;
(c) Strengthen the quality and capacity of the national labour inspection system so that the working conditions of women are effectively monitored, adequately punish employers engaging in discriminatory practices against women and enhance access to justice for women workers;
(d) Review the list of prohibited occupations and sectors and promote and facilitate women ’ s access to previously prohibited occupations by improving working conditions and occupational health and safety;
(e) Progressively elevate the retirement age for women to harmonize it with that for men in order to give women better employment opportunities;
(f) Adopt legislation to specifically define and prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace.
28.The Committee welcomes the progress made in reducing child and maternal mortality rates, but it is concerned:
(a)At the lack of comprehensive education on sexual and reproductive health and rights, including on responsible sexual behaviour, and of family planning services and at the high level of unmet contraception needs among women and girls;
(b)At the application of the pronatalist policy on population, which strengthens discriminatory stereotypes against women and may lead to poverty;
(c)At the lack of information on sexual and reproductive health and rights available to women and girls with disabilities and to lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex women, as well as the lack of training of medical personnel with regard to the special needs of those women;
(d)At the lack of information on the prevalence of cervical and breast cancer in the State party, as well as on the relevant treatments available to women and girls.
29. In line with its general recommendation No. 24 (1999) on women and health, the Committee calls upon the State party:
(a) To intensify education on sexual and reproductive health and rights through the widespread dissemination of information about available, accessible and affordable contraceptive methods and family planning in order to reduce the number of unwanted and early pregnancies;
(b) To ensure that the pronatalist policy does not reinforce discriminatory stereotypes by adopting poverty reduction strategies and taking measures to improve the quality of life for mothers taking care of children and by establishing childcare facilities;
(c) To improve the information on health, especially sexual and reproductive health and rights, provided to women and girls with disabilities and to lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex women, and train medical personnel to respond to their needs;
(d) To collect disaggregated data on the prevalence of cervical and breast cancer in the State party and provide training to medical and health professionals on early detection of those diseases, including in rural areas.
Economic empowerment of women
30.The Committee notes the adoption of a substrategy on promoting women’s economic opportunities and leadership in 2014, but it remains concerned at the persistence of poverty among women, in particular in rural areas and among female‑headed households, as well as at women’s limited access to property, financial credit and mortgages. The Committee is also concerned at the lack of targeted measures to ensure that older women and women with disabilities can participate in decision-making in and benefit from the implementation of development projects.
31. The Committee recommends that the State party continue to strengthen its programmes to combat poverty and promote the economic empowerment of women by ensuring that women have access to those programmes on an equal basis with men, in particular in rural areas and for female-headed households, older women and women with disabilities.
32.The Committee notes with concern:
(a)The disadvantaged status of women in rural areas and regrets the lack of data on their situation and the lack of measures taken by the State party to address poverty among rural women and to ensure their access to land ownership and use, as well as to justice, education, health, housing, safe drinking water, sanitation, formal employment, skills development and training opportunities, income-generating opportunities and microcredit;
(b)The low participation of rural women in decision-making processes at the community level;
(c)The impact of climate change and weather-related disasters, as well as the negative environmental consequences of industrial operations, in particular those of the mining sector, which disproportionately affect rural women in the State party.
33. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Seek international assistance and cooperation, as appropriate, to improve infrastructure in rural areas and formulate policies to combat poverty among rural women to ensure their access to justice, education, housing, safe drinking water, sanitation, formal employment, skills development and training opportunities, income-generating opportunities and microcredit, and ownership and use of land, taking into account their specific needs;
(b) Ensure the participation of rural women in decision-making processes at the community level on an equal basis with men;
(c) Study the impact of economic and social strategies for rural development on women ’ s human rights and collect specific, disaggregated data on rural women;
(d) Include a gender perspective in national policies and action plans relating to climate change, disaster response and risk reduction, as well as to the negative environmental and socioeconomic consequences of industrial operations, principally those of the mining sector, focusing on women not only as victims but also as active participants in the formulation and implementation of such policies.
Women with disabilities and older women
34.The Committee is concerned at the lack of public policies and measures to protect the rights of women and girls with disabilities, including their rights to inclusive education, health care, employment, housing and participation in political and public life, as well as at the absence of mechanisms to protect women and girls with disabilities from intersecting forms of discrimination and from violence and abuse. The Committee is also concerned at the situation of older women and their lack of access to health care and to protection from violence and abuse.
35. The Committee calls upon the State party:
(a) To adopt comprehensive policies and programmes to protect the rights of women and girls with disabilities, ensuring their equal access to education, employment, housing, health care and other basic services and social protection and to promote their autonomy and access to community services and their participation in political and public life;
(b) To develop partnerships with civil society, community-based organizations and the international community to identify women and girls with disabilities and older women in the State party, including in rural and remote areas, who are facing intersecting forms of discrimination based on their disability, age or other grounds, as well as isolation, confinement and other forms of physical and psychological violence.
Marriage and family relations
36.The Committee is concerned about the situation of single mothers and women heads of households, in particular the low level of benefits and the lack of support programmes for single mothers and their children, who are at an increased risk of poverty, discrimination and abuse.
37. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Increase, regularly review and adjust the levels of family benefits for single mothers and women heads of households to ensure an adequate standard of living for them and their children;
(b) Adopt targeted measures and programmes to economically empower single mothers and ensure that they have affordable access to adequate housing, education, professional training, health care and cultural life, and to protect them from discrimination and abuse.
38.The Committee is concerned at the general lack of updated statistical data, disaggregated by sex, age, ethnicity, disability, geographical location and socioeconomic background, which are necessary for an accurate assessment of the situation of women, to determine whether they suffer from discrimination, for informed and targeted policymaking and for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of progress achieved towards the realization of women’s substantive equality in all areas covered by the Convention.
39. The Committee calls upon the State party to develop a gender indicator system to improve the collection of data, disaggregated by sex and other relevant factors, necessary to assess the impact and effectiveness of policies and programmes aimed at mainstreaming gender equality and enhancing women ’ s enjoyment of their human rights. In this regard, the Committee draws the State party ’ s attention to its general recommendation No. 9 (1989) on statistical data concerning the situation of women and encourages the State party to seek technical assistance from relevant United Nations agencies and to enhance its collaboration with women ’ s associations that could assist in the collection of accurate data.
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
40. The Committee calls upon the State party to use the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in its efforts to implement the provisions of the Convention.
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
41. The Committee calls for the realization of substantive gender equality, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, throughout the process of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
42. The Committee requests the State party to ensure the timely dissemination of the present concluding observations, in the official language of the State party, to the relevant State institutions at all levels (national, regional and local), in particular to the Government, the ministries, the parliament and the judiciary, to enable their full implementation.
43. The Committee recommends that the State party consider seeking international assistance and cooperation and availing itself of technical assistance in the development and implementation of a comprehensive programme aimed at the implementation of the above recommendations and of the Convention as a whole. The Committee also calls upon the State party to continue its cooperation with the specialized agencies and programmes of the United Nations system.
Ratification of other treaties
44. The Committee notes that the adherence of the State party to the nine major interna tional human rights instruments would enhance the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms in all aspects of life. The Committee therefore encourages the State party to consider ratifying the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, to which it is not yet a party.
Follow-up to the concluding observations
45. The Committee requests the State party to provide, within two years, written information on the steps taken to implement the recommendations contained in paragraphs 17 (a) and 19 (a), (b) and (e) above.
Preparation of the next report
46. The Committee invites the State party to submit its tenth periodic report in March 2020.
47. The Committee requests the State party to follow the harmonized guidelines on reporting under the international human rights treaties, including guidelines on a common core document and treaty-specific docu ments ( HRI/GEN/2/Rev.6 , chap. I ).