|Feb 19, 2014|
The following is a statement submitted by Mr. Enghebatu Togochog, Director of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), to Mr. Maina Kiai, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association (FoAA) during a two-day meeting in Singapore from Feb 3-4, 2014:
Issues Raised to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association by the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center
Feb 3-4, 2014
The Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center (SMHRIC), a New York based human rights group dedicated to the promotion and protection of the human rights of the Mongolian people in China, has identified the following issues in relation to the right to Freedom of Assembly and Association (FoAA) in Southern Mongolia.
1. The Chinese authorities’ criminalization of peaceful assemblies and peaceful organizations by Mongolian students and intellectuals. Any form of peaceful assembly or organization expressing an opinion promoting or defending the human rights of the Mongolian people are strictly forbidden and subject to criminal charges.
For example, peaceful organizations including the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance (SMDA), Ih-zuu League Cultural Society, Mongolian Students’ Reading Club, and Mongolian Yurt Association were declared “separatists organizations” or “illegal organizations” by the Chinese authorities. The leaders and members of these organizations were arrested, detained and sent to jail. Both the President, Mr.Hada, and the Vice President, Mr. Tegexi of the SMDA, were sentenced to long jail terms. Mr. Hada was sentenced to15 years in jail in 1996 on charges of “splitting the country and engaging in espionage”. After serving his full jail term of 15 years, Mr.Hada was transferred to a black jail, and currently is still being held there. His wife Xinna and son Uiles are also being held under “residential surveillance”, a form of house arrest, after being held in detention for nearly 2 years. Hada and his family members are being held under extrajudicial proceedings.
Court papers and other relevant information including UN documents can be found here on Mr.Hada’s case: http://www.smhric.org/Hada/Hada.htm
2. The Chinese authorities’ criminalization of peaceful protests and petitions by Mongolian herders against land grabs by Chinese extractive industries.
For example, Mongolian herders who stage peaceful protests or visit higher authorities to petition to defend their legal rights and grazing lands from Chinese mining corporations and state-run companies are arrested, detained and jailed by the Chinese authorities. The trumped-up charges include ‘disturbing public order”, “sabotaging public properties”, “sabotaging private properties”, “sabotaging production and management”, “engaging in illegal petitioning”, and “engaging in fraud”.
In the last month alone, at least 16 Mongolian herders have been arrested and charged with various criminal offenses. Three of them from Heshigten Banner of Ulaanhad area including Mr. Yanjun, Mr. Shirmee, and Mr. Oyuundalai were accused of “engaging in fraud”, facing up to life in prison; two herders from Shiliin-gol area including Mr. Seevendoo and Mr. Bukhee were sentenced to 3 years in jail on a charge of “fraud”; six other herders from Ongniud Banner of Ulaanhad area including Mr. Tulguur, Mr. Munkhbayar, Mr. Nasandalai, Mr. Jargalt, and Mr. Ulaanbars were sentenced to 1-2 years in jail for “sabotaging production and management”; five other herders from Urad Banner including Ms. Todoo, Ms. Urnaa, Ms. Delgertsegeg, Mr. Jargalt and Ms. Odongerel were arrested and detained for “disturbing public order” and “illegal petitioning”. One of the five herders Ms. Odongerel was sent to a year and half in “reeducation through labor” for “illegal petitioning”.
More information on the cases can be found here: http://www.smhric.org/news_517.htm, http://www.smhric.org/news_516.htm, http://www.smhric.org/news_515.htm, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/world/asia/31mongolia.html?_r=0, http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/05/31/china.mongolia.protest/
3. The Chinese authorities’ restriction of freedom of assembly of traditional and cultural gatherings and ceremonies.
Public events including Mongolian traditional ceremonies and festivals such as Naadam and Chinggis Khaan Memorial Ceremonies are closely monitored by the authorities. When approval is granted by the authorities, riot police and local Public Security personnel are placed on high alert, and closely monitor the event. Pictures and communications we received from the Mongolian communities in Shiliin-gol League and Bayannuur League show that Naadam festivals were heavily guarded by police and security personnel. The Annual Chinggis Khaan Ceremony held in Ordos region is always under tight security. Mongolian wedding ceremonies are also required to obtain approval from the authorities.
1. We urge the United Nations Special Rapporteur on FoAA to send a fact-finding mission to China to observe and investigate the violation of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and peaceful association in Southern Mongolia, also known as “Inner Mongolia”;
2. We ask the United Nations Special Rapportuer on FoAA to set up a special meeting with overseas Southern Mongolian activists and organizations including SMHRIC to obtain a better understanding of the current status of the Mongolian people in China in view of the fact that it is very difficult for the Special Rapporteur to obtain unbiased and reliable information directly from the community in Southern Mongolia;
3. We urge the Special Rapporteur to advise the Chinese Government to regulate its extractive industries, abolish its discriminatory policies against the Mongolian traditional nomadic way of life, return the confiscated grazing lands to the herders, and return the displaced herders back to their lands.
The Chinese Government must review its judicial and law enforcement practices to end false accusations, trumped-up charges and fabricated evidences to persecute the Mongolians who express their opinions through peaceful assembly and organization. At the same time, the FoAA Special Rapporteur should advise the Chinese authorities to respect the United Nations conventions including the Universal Human Rights Declaration, the United Nations Declaration on Rights Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which China is a signatory.