Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
Summary record of the 1895th meeting
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Thursday, 23 June 2022, at 10 a.m.
Chair:Mr. Safarov (Vice-Chair)
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention (continued)
Tenth periodic report of Mongolia
Mr. Safarov (Vice-Chair) took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 10.10 a.m.
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention (continued)
Tenth periodic report of Mongolia (CEDAW/C/MNG/10; CEDAW/C/MNG/QPR/10)
1. At the invitation of the Chair, the delegation of Mongolia joined the meeting via video link.
2.Mr. Zulpkhar (Mongolia) said he was pleased to note that the Committee had received the delegation’s opening statement in writing in due course and had thus had time to become acquainted with its main points.
3.The Chair said that the statement would be published on the Committee’s website.
4.Ms. Manolo said that the Committee wished to know why the State party had failed to enact a specific law outlawing discrimination as defined in the Convention, notwithstanding the fact that discrimination was criminalized in a number of its laws. It would also like to know why no criminal cases involving discrimination had been heard in the country’s courts. The State Great Hural, the Mongolian parliament, had enacted laws to combat violence against women, including domestic violence, and laws that indirectly protected women and children, including persons with disabilities, against violence. It was unclear, however, why enforcement organizations and the judiciary had proven inefficient in combating gender-based violence.
5.A representative of Mongolia said that, although there was no specific law dedicated to prohibiting discrimination, the Constitution and more than 80 per cent of the laws in force contained provisions outlawing discrimination against women and children. Article 14 of the Constitution prohibited discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin, language, race, age, sex, social origin or status, property, occupation, religion, opinion or education. Article 16 (11) stated that men and women enjoyed equal rights in the political, economic, social and cultural fields and that the State protected the interests of the family, motherhood and the child. The parliament had adopted amendments to the Criminal Code prohibiting discrimination and new instruments aimed at combating and restricting discrimination were being implemented. A bill introducing amendments to a major law had been submitted on 22 May 2022 and included explicit provisions against discrimination and violence. The country’s laws also prohibited acts that jeopardized a person’s reputation and good name and all types of defamation.
6.The Law to Combat Domestic Violence promulgated in 2017 specified the duties of law enforcement institutions. The authorities had established 32 internal procedures for implementation of the Law and regular training was provided for law enforcement officers and members of the judiciary. The police registered all complaints of domestic violence and compiled records of the services provided to victims and witnesses. Criminal proceedings were initiated with the competent prosecutor’s office.
7.A representative of Mongolia said that a task force had been established to undertake research on definitions contained in treaties ratified by Mongolia, with a view to incorporating them into domestic legislation, and that the Supreme Court had issued a decision referring to the need to align definitions in domestic law with those in international instruments.
8.Ms. Haidar highlighted the provision of article 3 of the Convention concerning the need to take action to promote gender equality in all fields. The State party’s report described in detail the structure prescribed by the Charter of the National Committee on Gender Equality in the different parts of the country. Eight governmental sectors had reportedly adopted gender policies, and one was implementing a gender equality action plan. She would appreciate information on the implementation of gender policies in the areas of foreign affairs, defence and health. She also wished to know whether the National Committee had the capacity to monitor and assess the impact of the National Programme on Gender Equality.
9.It would be useful to know how many of the 241 indicators covered by the Gender Statistics Indicator Framework and Cultural Methodology related to Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality. The Committee would like to find out about their impact and respective budgetary allocations. The National Human Rights Commission had since 2003 been accredited with A status in terms of compliance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles). It was mandated to receive and consider complaints concerning violations of human rights and freedoms and to make recommendations concerning the conformity of laws and administrative decisions with key human rights principles. She would be grateful for information on the number of complaints received and on how they had been addressed. She noted that in 2021, the Sub-Committee on Accreditation of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) had encouraged the National Human Rights Commission to continue advocating the formalization of a clear, transparent and participatory process for the selection and appointment of the members of its decision-making body. It had also stressed the need for adequate funding to implement the Commission’s mandate and had encouraged the enhancement of diversity and pluralism in its composition. She wished to know whether those recommendations were being implemented. She also asked whether the State party was implementing the recommendations on herder women contained in a study conducted by the National Human Rights Commission.
10.Ms. Manalo said that the Committee would like to know what steps were being taken to address the weak functioning of the National Committee on Gender Equality so that it could take more effective action to promote women’s rights. The Committee would be grateful for information on special measures taken by the Government to accelerate de facto equality between men and women.
11.A representative of Mongolia said that the implementation of the Law on the Promotion of Gender Equality and the National Programme on Gender Equality had been assessed in May 2022. The degree of implementation of the Programme had been estimated at 80.7 per cent. The National Committee on Gender Equality had branches in all local constituencies, and 12 branches had approved gender equality programmes and plans. The results of the Programme’s implementation assessment had been submitted to the Cabinet and a parliamentary committee and they would be disseminated nationwide. The assessment process would continue in the years ahead.
12.Steps had been taken to promote the introduction of a gender-sensitive approach in all policies at the sectoral level, for instance through the dissemination of guidelines. As the lack of kindergartens constituted a barrier to women’s employment, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science had been taking action since September 2020 to increase the number of kindergartens. The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection had introduced an action plan to promote women’s employment and had allocated the necessary funds for its implementation, for instance by bolstering microcredit support for small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly in the aftermath of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Successful campaigns had been launched against gender stereotypes and action had been taken to promote women’s participation in policymaking on gender-related issues. During the period from 2017 to 2022, more than 16,000 public and private stakeholders, including 5,500 women, had participated in 125 capacity-building training courses.
13.The National Committee on Gender Equality had close ties with the National Human Rights Commission. A campaign had been launched to promote comprehensive reforms of human rights legislation. The issues addressed had included the need for balanced membership of the National Human Rights Commission, which, under the Law on the Promotion of Gender Equality, was required to handle complaints of human rights violations. According to the statistics available in late 2021, a total of 37 complaints concerning gender-based discrimination had been resolved.
14.Issues of sexual harassment were monitored pursuant to a joint order issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs. The applicable procedures and regulations would be incorporated into the Labour Code.
15.A representative of Mongolia said that a policy paper would be drafted to support progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Several hundred indicators had been identified, and their feasibility was being examined. The indicators included in development plans would be aligned with those of the Sustainable Development Goals.
16.A representative of Mongolia said thatongoingbudgeting reforms related to gender questions included the introduction of gender-sensitive budgeting, which was carried out with the involvement of several ministries, a task force, international institutions and think tanks. A related initiative had been piloted during projects in the areas of education and labour; it had identified gender gaps and streamlined decision-making and defined procedures to address such gaps. The results of the pilot projects had been shared with the Government and the National Statistics Office, which had both issued recommendations that would enable the extension of gender-sensitive budgeting to all sectors. Information on budget implementation in dozens of sectors in 2021 had revealed the need for institutional capacity-building on gender-sensitive budgeting. A training course had therefore been developed and delivered online to 145 officials.
17.Mr. Zulpkhar (Mongolia) said that the pension age for women herders had been lowered from 55, the pensionable age for most women, to 50.
18.Ms. Haidar said that she wished to understand the Government’s position on the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission in relation to women herders. She would like to know to what extent civil society had participated in preparations for the interactive dialogue with the Committee and how the Government supported civil society organizations to ensure their sustainability, particularly for organizations working in the fields of women’s rights and development.
19.Mr. Zulpkhar (Mongolia) said that the work of civil society organizations was regulated in law and the Government cooperated extensively, particularly with professional associations, to implement its development policies. There were approximately 8,000 active non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations in Mongolia.
20.A representative of Mongolia said that the secretariat of the National Committee on Gender Equality monitored the implementation of the Law on the Promotion of Gender Equality. The National Committee, which reported directly to the Prime Minister, had received its mandate three years previously. Although it lacked sufficient budgetary and human resources, it was in the process of acquiring the necessary experience to address gender issues effectively at the national level.
21.Ms. Rana said that gender-based violence reportedly remained a serious problem in the State party. A 2019 report entitled “Mongolia Gender Situational Analysis: Advances, Challenges and Lessons Learnt since 2005” had revealed an urgent need to address the widespread tolerance of violence, the lack of protection and specialist assistance for victims of domestic violence, the absence of support mechanisms for women herders who were victims of violence and the poor quality of behavioural change programmes for perpetrators. She wished to know how those challenges would be addressed, which body would be responsible for tackling them, what budget would be allocated to such action and how civil society would be involved. She would welcome information on measures to increase financial resources for the effective implementation, monitoring and enforcement of the Law to Combat Domestic Violence, and on relevant activities benefiting all groups of women, including women with disabilities; lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons; and migrant women.
22.It would be useful to know whether police helplines were accessible to persons with disabilities and whether funding for shelters and one-stop service centres for victims of gender-based violence was provided under the State budget. Given the increasing rates of serious violence in the State party, she wondered whether there were plans to strengthen those shelters and centres, particularly in terms of the range and quality of services that they offered, and whether they provided specialized services to women and girls with disabilities and lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons. She wished to know whether the standard operating procedures for the shelters and one-stop centres had been developed in consultation with civil society and how compliance was monitored.
23.Ms. Leinarte said that the Committee would welcome information on the outcome of investigations into sex trafficking, including how many persons had been prosecuted, what sentences had been handed down and whether perpetrators were required to pay compensation to their victims. She would welcome the delegation’s comments on the lack of convictions and investigations in relation to labour trafficking and clarification of whether civil society organizations continued to identify women and girls at risk of trafficking at the border with China and offer them information on the assistance available for potential victims. The delegation might wish to inform the Committee whether or not it was left to civil society alone to undertake such efforts.
24.She wished to know whether the Government planned to resume screening of women and children to identify potential trafficking victims as they left the country, as funding for such activities had been diverted to the COVID-19 response. The Committee would also welcome information on any plans to establish a shelter specifically for trafficking victims. It would like to find out about efforts to change the legal provisions that limited victims’ access to protection services to cases where prosecution proceedings had been launched against alleged traffickers. It would be useful to find out about the conclusions of the assessment of anti-trafficking legislation. Lastly, given that prostitution was criminalized in the State party, details of measures to address and reduce demand for it, and to initiate public debate on that demand, would be useful.
25.A representative of Mongolia said that a legal framework had been established that allowed assistance to be provided to more than 8,000 women and girls who were victims of violence each year. Domestic violence was addressed through inspections at the local level, and government funding for such activities amounted to 440 million tugriks. Ten billion tugriks had been allocated from the State budget to family and child protection efforts. The shelters and one-stop service centres, funded by local authorities and the Government, provided social services to around 5,500 persons each year. They applied operational standards that were used in performance-based appraisals for social workers.
26.The police operated a number of hotlines, including for the reporting of domestic violence and for requesting child protection, which were supplemented by sign language interpretation and messaging applications to provide access to blind and deaf persons. Social workers used tablets to record in a database the services that they provided, and the database’s use would be extended across the country. Social workers and law enforcement officers would receive training on legislation and best practices in the field of human rights violations, and training was provided to increase the participation of NGOs in activities aimed at combating domestic violence. Curricula were being developed for systematic training for other stakeholders. There was a need for measures to increase public awareness of the harm caused by gender-based and domestic violence.
27.A representative of Mongolia said that, under the National Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons, the Government allocated around $300,000 a year to support NGOs and improve the institutional capacity of the relevant State bodies. Trafficking in persons was dealt with by a specialized unit, and the courts had issued decisions in 12 cases of trafficking and sexual exploitation, handing down prison sentences of between 7 and 12 years. The victims had received legal assistance, accommodation and psychological counselling. Work was undertaken with international organizations to repatriate Mongolian victims of trafficking, such as 20 women and 1 child who had been found to be victims of sexual exploitation in Malaysia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding from the State budget had been allocated to the two NGOs that provided services to victims of trafficking, and NGOs participated in annual campaigns to raise the public’s awareness of the harm caused by trafficking and prostitution. Although prostitution was illegal, the women and girls involved in it were considered victims, and they therefore had access to services and support. The act of organizing prostitution was a criminal offence.
28.Mr. Zulpkhar (Mongolia) said that the Government had, since 2016, introduced seven employment-promotion programmes, three of which were designed to improve herder women’s livelihoods. In addition, there were 12 social protection programmes in operation, 3 of which also were aimed at improving herder women’s livelihoods. Women herders who suffered domestic violence benefited from assistance and support arranged at the local level. The police responded to such incidents, in tandem with the local authority. The Government was appointing dedicated social workers to provide psychological counselling for victims at the local level.
29.Ms. Rana said that the Committee had received reports that the State party’s efforts to counter gender stereotypes by working with media organizations actually reinforced traditional beliefs regarding gendered behaviours. Such efforts reportedly included no representation of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons at all. The report referred to a memorandum of understanding with such media organizations. It would be useful for the Committee to know its content. She wished to know whether the elimination of gender stereotypes was enforced by means of a monitoring mechanism or code of ethics for media organizations. Lastly, since the COVID-19 response had led to a significant increase in domestic violence, it would be helpful to know about any long-term State programmes addressing such violence in the event of pandemics and in humanitarian contexts.
30.Ms. Leinarte said that she remained unsure whether the State party intended to establish a specialized shelter for victims of trafficking in persons. While she welcomed the Government’s anti-trafficking work with women’s NGOs, it was unclear which State body was responsible for coordinating their work and monitoring the identification of trafficking victims.
31.Ms. Manalo said that examples illustrating how the Government tackled gender stereotypes in the country would be welcome.
32.A representative of Mongolia said that the Government considered education, from preschool to university, to be a major means of countering gender stereotypes. Developing the skills, understanding and attitudes of teachers was particularly important. Gender studies were being introduced as a subject at secondary schools. Moreover, training on gender stereotypes was being offered to professionals in a range of fields, including social workers and lawyers. The memorandum of understanding that had been concluded with broadcasters allocated a certain number of hours to advertising and programming that had been developed jointly with experts in gender studies with the aim of countering stereotypes and discrimination. In addition, systematic training on gender stereotypes was offered to journalists working in broadcast, digital and print media. There was a code of ethics in place for the media.
33.A representative of Mongolia said that the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs had worked with the National Police Agency to establish a specialist shelter for victims of trafficking in persons. In order to ensure the shelter’s security, stringent internal procedures had been laid down. The Anti-Trafficking Law had established, under the Coordination Council for Crime Prevention, a 24-member subcouncil with specific responsibility for combating trafficking in persons. The subcouncil comprised representatives of public and non-public bodies, along with those of international organizations. With a view to identifying potential victims, regular public awareness campaigns were conducted and training was offered to law enforcement officers, teachers and health-care professionals, among others.
34.A representative of Mongolia said that the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection had set up a joint task force with civil society organizations on the establishment of shelters for victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The Ministry provided training and guidelines on identifying victims of trafficking for use by social workers, law enforcement officers and prosecutors, among others. Since around 90 per cent of the perpetrators of domestic violence were men, the Government had, in 2022, held a national forum for men on social and traditional stereotypes. Services were provided for men of all ages to explain the potential harm caused by alcohol abuse, anger, anxiety and stress, among other things.
35.Ms. Bonifaz Alfonzo said that there was evidently a discrepancy between the requirement under the Law on the Promotion of Gender Equality for a minimum of 25 per cent of staff to be women in central and local government bodies and the fact that only about 17 per cent of the successful candidates in the parliamentary elections of 2016 had been women. She wished to know whether the obstacles women faced within political parties had been identified. In the light of the Government’s own target of 30 per cent representation of women by 2030, she wondered what measures would be taken to increase the number of women in all areas of public life and to ensure compliance with the Law. She hoped to hear about any work being done to that end with political parties. It would be interesting to know the Government’s position on the impact of the apparent need for candidates for elected office to enjoy substantial financial backing. Details of measures to increase the number of women Cabinet ministers from its current level of 1 in 15 would be welcome. Figures for the number of women in the judiciary and for the quantity of Mongolian women in international bodies would also be useful.
36.Ms. Manalo said that she wondered whether there had been, since the previous dialogue, any increase in Mongolian women’s representation of their country abroad as ambassadors, ranking officers of the diplomatic service and military attachés, and in other senior roles. If there had, she hoped for a description of that increase. If there had not, she wondered what problems had prevented any improvement and what the Government was doing to overcome those problems.
37.Ms. Nadaraia said that it was unclear whether the State party granted women equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality. In particular, she hoped for clarification of how the State party ensured that neither marriage to an alien nor change of nationality by the husband during marriage would automatically change the nationality of the wife, render her stateless or force upon her the nationality of the husband. Lastly, she was unsure whether the State party granted women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children.
38.A representative of Mongolia said that, since women’s full representation in political decision-making was a key goal of the Government, its policies in that connection included a joint project between the National Committee on Gender Equality and civil society organizations to eliminate gender stereotypes and the establishment, again in partnership with civil society, of a women’s mentorship network, in which women could share their experience. The 30 per cent target had not yet been hit owing to the lack of transparency in respect of political parties’ funding. Work was under way on amendments to the Parliamentary Election Law to make the funding of political parties more transparent, which would offer women more opportunities to run for elected office. Under the Law on the Promotion of Gender Equality, political parties were required to report the steps they took to further gender equality. Three of the parties had quotas for the proportion of female candidates, none of which exceeded 30 per cent.
39.Mr. Zulpkhar (Mongolia) said that, although at the time when the report had been submitted there had been 11 members of the Cabinet, the parliamentary elections of 2020 had resulted in that figure increasing to 15. At the local level, women accounted for 27 per cent of representatives in local assemblies.
40.A representative of Mongolia said that nine representatives at Mongolian diplomatic missions were women, and six new female ambassadors had been appointed in 2021. Women also accounted for 51 per cent of the staff of the diplomatic services. Responses to unanswered questions would be provided in writing.
41.A representative of Mongolia said that Mongolian women married to foreign nationals had the right to acquire their spouse’s nationality. Citizens wishing to renounce their Mongolian citizenship must write an official request to the President. All changes of nationality were voluntary and a matter for the individual concerned.
42.A representative of Mongolia said that women occupied high-ranking positions in the defence sector. For example, a female colonel had worked as a defence attaché at the Mongolian embassy in Germany from 2015 to 2018 and a female colonel was currently serving at a training centre for peacekeepers. Since 2002, more than 900 Mongolian women had been deployed on United Nations peacekeeping operations overseas, and the Government aimed to increase the share of female military personnel posted abroad.
43.Ms. Manalo said that she would like to know what training was available to enable women to attain high ranks in the military and whether it was conceivable for a woman to rise to become commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
44.A representative of Mongolia said that there was a well-developed training system for female military personnel, who were able to achieve high ranks. The main centre for military training was the National Defence University, where both officers and lower-ranked personnel were educated. Some personnel also received training abroad. Many women occupied management positions at the Ministry of Defence, with specific mandates and functions.
45.The Chair said that he would like to know whether the State party had adopted criminal legislation to combat sexual harassment in the workplace, and, if so, what the results had been. It would also be useful to hear about any legislative amendments aimed at eliminating the pay gap between women and men. He wondered whether the Government would consider ratifying the International Labour Organization (ILO) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention, 1983 (No. 159) and the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189). In addition, he would welcome information on the right to paid maternity leave in the State party in law and its implementation in practice and on any protective measures for women returning to work after pregnancy.
46.A representative of Mongolia said that the average monthly wage for women in Mongolia was $373, and the average for men was $445. The gender pay gap was consistent across different economic sectors. In order to address the situation, the Labour Code had been revised in line with the principle of equal pay for equal work. The Government had developed a methodology and guidelines on how to calculate equal pay for equal work. The matter would be regulated by a tripartite agreement between government representatives, employee associations and trade unions; those groups had approved the guidelines and methodology at their most recent meeting, in February 2022. The revised Labour Code included specific provisions aimed at eliminating all forms of harassment in the workplace. It followed the principles established in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which included the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
47.Mr. Zulpkhar (Mongolia) said that Mongolia had a highly institutionalized system of labour relations and independent ILO experts had found that employees had unimpeded access to the voluntary and mandatory insurance payment systems. Women were entitled to four months of maternity leave, divided into two 60-day periods, before and after the birth of the child, during which they could receive child and maternity benefits. As at 2021, $40 million in maternity benefits had been paid to more than 60,000 women. Men were also entitled to stay at home to look after children up to 3 years of age. Social benefits were paid by employers during those periods. Mothers not covered by the voluntary and mandatory insurance systems were entitled to maternity benefits from the social welfare system. Since 2017, the Government had implemented the Paid Mother programme, under which mothers were entitled to a monthly State benefit payment.
48.A representative of Mongolia said that, in May 2022, the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs had produced a draft amendment to the Criminal Code, under which the perpetrators of sexual harassment would be subject to criminal sanctions. If the perpetrator was the victim’s employer it was considered an aggravating circumstance.
49.Ms. Manalo said that women accounted for 52.4 per cent of all registered unemployed people. She would like to know why more women than men were unemployed and how the Government planned to overcome the challenges women faced in finding employment, such as discrimination against married women and mothers and the precarity of work in the informal sector.
Articles 15 and 16
50.Ms. Akizuki said that it was of concern that divorce was prohibited if a woman was pregnant or had a child under the age of 1. The Committee would welcome further information about the proposed amendment of the Family Law and whether the Law would grant women the same rights as men.
51.Divorce claims by victims of domestic violence were reportedly accepted by courts only after the victims had applied for mediation. She wondered what measures were in place to protect victims of domestic violence and their children during the mediation period, which lasted at least 30 days. It appeared that ownership of property was transferred to men in divorce cases because properties were usually registered under their names. It would be useful to know what steps the Government had taken to ensure that women received their half of shared property in a divorce. She would appreciate information on measures in place to provide support to single mothers and single female heads of household, including efforts to secure adequate child maintenance payments and increase the level of family benefits. There were apparently court-approved exceptions to the official marriageable age of 18 years, which thus allowed minors aged 16 to 18 to marry, with the consent of their parents or guardians. She would welcome accurate data on child marriage and information on the steps and time frame for establishing 18 as the absolute minimum age for marriage, with no exceptions.
52.A representative of Mongolia said that the Government was revising the Family Law to strengthen and enhance the equal rights of all family members and provide new mechanisms for regulating property, child protection and child custody provisions.
53.Regarding the provision preventing divorce for pregnant women or women with infant children, the reasoning behind that provision was that remaining in a marriage provided such women with financial security. Couples subject to a 30-day mediation period prior to divorce were automatically granted a divorce at the end of that period. There had been 265 such cases in 2021. Child psychologists were employed to protect children’s rights during divorce proceedings.
54.A representative of Mongolia said that, in divorce cases, under the Family Law, men and women had equal rights to own and administer common property and to demand compensation in cases of divorce. The courts provided for a clear regulation of property rights. Upon dissolution of marriage, the divorcing parties divided their shared property on the basis of mutual agreement. When divorcing, men and women had equal rights to equal proportions of all property acquired during marriage.
55.A representative of Mongolia said that child support was paid to the person with custody of the child; the amount would be in line with the minimum needed for a basic standard of living. The Family Law was being amended to increase the amount of child support payable, and child support payments were currently being made for about 13,000 children. In 2020, the law had been amended to punish parents who failed to pay child support; failure to pay was now punishable by a fine or, in more serious cases, arrest and detention, or restrictions on the parent’s freedom of movement. There was a need to strengthen the applicable law and sanctions owing to an increasing number of missed payments. In addition, 240,000 tugriks in social benefits had been paid to single mothers and fathers with custody of infant children.
The meeting rose at 1 p.m.