In January, the government headed by Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj resigned. Corruption was prevalent and institutionalized. Mongolia ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in January and in July passed the Mongolian Anti-Corruption Law which came into force in November.
Executions were carried out in secret and there were no official statistics of death sentences. Detention periods of over 24 months along with the continuous use of hand and foot cuffs were reported.
Torture and ill-treatment
Torture and ill-treatment appeared to be systematic in police stations and pre-trial detention centres. There was widespread impunity for law enforcement officials, and compensation and rehabilitation were not available to torture victims.
Detention conditions were harsh and overcrowding was typical. Prisoners were at risk of tuberculosis and faced extremes of heat and cold. Six prisoners whose death sentences were commuted served special 30-year "isolation sentences", separated from other prisoners and denied visits from families and lawyers.
There was a lack of light and fresh air and high levels of humidity and air pollution at the Gants Khudag detention centre. Prisoners suffered damaged eyesight and other health problems.
• One detainee went blind after spending 300 days in Gants Khudag detention centre. He applied for compensation for damage to his eyesight resulting from his detention conditions and for compensation for his ill-treatment by prison officers. Both applications were unsuccessful.
• In August a number of informal "Ninja" miners were arrested and evicted for trespassing on the Ar Naimgan site of the Altan Dornod mining company. Police and military units arrested everyone without local identity cards, including women and children, and held them for over 24 hours in the police detention centre in Ogoomor soum. Over 10,000 "Ninja" miners were forcibly put on trucks and taken to isolated rural areas with no infrastructure and without access to food, water or medical services.
No compensation or other reparation was offered to herdsmen who were forced to leave their land as a result of damage to their livestock and lands associated with the mining industry's use of chemical toxins. There were high levels of mercury and sodium cyanide in the Zaamar and Boroo mining areas in Toev, Selenge and Ovorkhangai provinces and much livestock was poisoned by these and other toxins.
Onggi River, which passes through Omnogovi, Ovorkhangai and Dundgovi provinces and covers a distance of 435km, dried out after 30 mining licences were granted for extraction and prospecting in the headwaters. The disappearance of the river left at least 57,000 people in the region short of drinking water. More than 80,000 cattle had to be moved to other provinces, costing each family over one million togrog (US$880).
Restriction of freedom of expression
Freedom of expression remained severely restricted. During the year, more than 40 journalists were threatened or attacked, or were harassed or investigated by the authorities. The local news media were controlled by the authorities; they were often threatened and discriminated against if they criticized the authorities. Ten journalists were reportedly arrested and their cameras and other equipment destroyed during demonstrations.
• In July, B Tsevegmid, a journalist with Nomin TV, was beaten in Orkhon Aimag by unidentified people who had reportedly asked her to stop broadcasting. There was reportedly no proper investigation by the police.
• In April, D Arvin, a Member of Parliament, illegally removed from public distribution a newspaper containing a negative article about her. She claimed her political status authorized the action.