By Michel Nussbaumer, Director, Legal Transition Team, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Margarita Milikh, Regional Program Manager, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, International Development Law Organization. This piece originally appeared in the ALIFDO Gazette Winter 2018 Edition.
Landlocked and traditionally isolated, Mongolia possesses a great wealth of under-exploited natural resources, including gold, silver and copper, as well as 10% of the world's known coal reserves. Although the country is peaceful and politically stable, corruption, insufficient transparency in government affairs, and an ambiguous foreign investment legal framework have undermined its capacity to fully capitalize on its economic potential.
Home to around 2,600 Mongolian Americans, the city of Arlington, Virginia has one of the largest Mongolian populations in the United States, to the point that Mongolian is the third-most widely spoken language in the local school system.
As part of IDLO’s continuous commitment to accountability and results-based management, IDLO is pleased to share this Evaluation Brief (summarised evaluation report): “Strengthening Enforcement of Court Decisions in Mongolia - Phase I and II”. The evaluation has been conducted by independent evaluation experts, supervised by IDLO’s Evaluation Unit.
With domestic violence only recently classified as a crime in Mongolia, police officers, judges and other justice professionals initially had to navigate unfamiliar territory. Capacity building programs are helping them to support victims in line with the new legislation and resolve cases through coordinated response mechanisms.
Strengthening the domestic violence response in Mongolia
IDLO is implementing a project in Mongolia that aims to strengthen the response to domestic violence and increase access to justice for survivors.
Domestic violence in Mongolia is increasingly recognized as a significant problem. Law enforcement officials report that in 2016 domestic violence cases increased by 25 per cent in the first seven months of the year compared to the previous year. In response, the Government of Mongolia has begun to take legislative and policy steps to improve its response to the issue. While important steps continue to be taken, significant challenges remain.
Investment climate to improve through creation of transparent and predictable legal environment
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> 50% of all cases reported to the police in Mongolia relate to domestic violence, according to law enforcement officials.
> In 2015, national statistics showed a 25% increase in the number of domestic violence cases reported, compared with previous years.
The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it have had severe and long-lasting impacts on Mongolia. Though prevention and containment measures have successfully prevented a large-scale health crisis, extended lockdowns have negatively affected children’s access to education, psychological and physical wellbeing and reduced the capacity of the Mongolian justice system to respond to crimes against children.
Legal reform and institutional capacity building have been priorities for the Government of Mongolia since 2005, when a specific Government Agency for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection was established. However, the Government Agency for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection still has institutional weaknesses and has not always been able to effectively implement changes of the legal framework.
The Government of Mongolia has taken a number of legislative and policy steps aimed at tackling domestic violence. While the new legal framework undeniably offers an improved, holistic and more victim-centered approach, its practical implementation and adherence to ensuring the needs of victims requires significant technical assistance, ongoing monitoring, and effective coordination among all the relevant actors.