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Statement of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 7th Session

April 21- May 2, 2008
United Nations Headquarters
New York

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning!

My name is Enghebatu Togochog, and I represent the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, a New York based human rights organization dedicated to protecting and promoting of the human rights of the indigenous Mongolian people in China.

Thank you Madam Chairperson for giving me this opportunity to talk about our concerns. We also take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Permanent Forum and the Volunteer Fund for Inviting our indigenous Mongolian community leader Mr. Naranbilig, an indigenous rights defender and a free-lance journalist, to attend the Permanent Forum 7th Session and providing him with the funds for his trip to New York. Unfortunately, he is not here today, because he was arrested on March 23 and detained until April 12 by the Chinese authorities. Following his 20 day detention, he has been placed under 1 year house arrest after payment of 20,000 Yuan bail. The reasons for his arrest and detention are the following:

  1. His attempt to attend the Permanent Forum 7th Session;

  2. His attendance to the World Gathering of Nomadic and Transhumant Pastoralists and the First Congress of the World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples in Segovia, Spain last September;

  3. His views and activities against the Chinese government’s forced eviction, forced sedentarization, forced urbanization and forced assimilation of the indigenous Mongolian people in China.

We are sorry to inform the Permanent Forum and the Voluntary Fund that your approval letter and invitation to Mr. Naranbilig to attend the 7th Session was never delivered to him, instead it was confiscated by the Chinese authorities. He has been told by the Chinese authorities that all his communications with others including communication with our Center have been closely monitored. Now, he is forbidden to travel anywhere, and his passport has been confiscated by the Chinese authorities.

I would like to turn now to China’s state-sponsored projects of “Ecological Migration” and “Total Ban over Livestock Grazing” in the indigenous Mongolian ancestral lands. The so-called “Ecological Migration” has been carried out since 2001 by the Chinese Government to forcibly displace the entire population of nomadic or semi-nomadic indigenous Mongols from their ancestral grazing lands to agricultural and urban areas where the Chinese are predominant under the slogans of “recovering grassland eco-system”, “combating desertification” and “improving the living standard of the indigenous Mongols”. The second project “Total Ban over Livestock Grazing” has forced the indigenous Mongols to either eliminate their livestock or raise them in fenced in enclosures. Under this policy, grazing livestock on the grasslands is considered a crime that is subject to harsh punishment and heavy fines. As a result of these two policies, the indigenous Mongols have lost their land, properties and livelihood; their traditional way of life has been completely destroyed. They have become homeless and landless people on their own land.

Madam Chairperson, the destruction of the ecology of the grasslands of traditional Mongolian lands is an issue that will have far reaching consequences. Even now, the sandstorms in China that have intensified as a result of the desertification of the grasslands are affecting the global climate. It is imperative that the participants of this forum join together in expressing a united opposition to Chinese government policies which have permitted these conditions. 

Thank you!

Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center
47-28 39th St 2D
Sunnyside, NY 11104
Tel: 001-718-786-9236


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Close to Eden (Urga): France, Soviet Union, directed by Nikita Mikhilkov

Beyond Great WallsBeyond Great Walls: Environment, Identity, and Development on the Chinese Grasslands of Inner Mongolia

The Mongols at China's EdgeThe Mongols at China's Edge: History and the Politics of National Unity

China's Pastoral RegionChina's Pastoral Region: Sheep and Wool, Minority Nationalities, Rangeland Degradation and Sustainable Development

Changing Inner MongoliaChanging Inner Mongolia: Pastoral Mongolian Society and the Chinese State (Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)

Grasslands and Grassland Science in Northern China: A Report of the Committee on Scholarly Communication With the People's Republic of China

The Ordos Plateau of ChinaThe Ordos Plateau of China: An Endangered Environment (Unu Studies on Critical Environmental Regions)

Grasslands and Grassland Science in Northern China

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