Dozens of young men and women rallied at Sukhbaatar Square last Saturday to stand up against violence against women and children as part of the “Open Your Eyes” national movement.
They claimed that despite the government’s efforts to strengthen the legal environment for children’s wellbeing and protection, children and women are still victimized by violence and sexual assault.
In particular, the government adopted the Law on the Rights of the Child, Law on Child Protection and Law to Combat Domestic Violence in 2016, in addition to Article 16.11 in the Constitution, citing “The State shall protect the interests of family, motherhood and the child”. Article 7.1 in the Law on Children’s Rights specifies, “Children have the right to be protected from crime, offences or any forms of violence, physical punishment, psychological abuse, neglect and exploitation in all social settings”.
However, 298 children were sexually assaulted between 2015 and 2016, according to a report by the General Prosecutor’s Office. As stressed by the national movement initiators, these are documented cases only and it’s impossible to imagine how many more are abused and not reported.
Reportedly, 48 percent of these children were assaulted by their family or relative. Experts explained that interfamilial sexual abuse can cause a more painful and traumatic experience to a child than a person sexually abused by a stranger and that such victims need treatment for a long time, if not, for the rest of their life.
The demonstration was organized by Ugukh Udur Movement and Lantuun Dokhio NGOs to bring attention to the issue of violence against women and girls and demand decision-makers to carry out a better and wider intervention for fighting against sexual violence.
“We’ve been addressing sexual violence for many years. We need a different strategy for combatting this issue. Each and every person needs to fight against violence,” said Ch.Ganjavkhlan, director of Lantuun Dokhio. “Violence against girls has reached a disastrous level and become a threat to the national security.”
After the demonstration, participants of the movement made the following demands:
To all members of Parliament:
- Improve the legal environment to provide better protection and security for victims of sexual violence in order to eliminate sexual violence against women and children.
- Create a legal environment that investigates and resolves sexual assault cases quickly and professionally without causing additional damage to the victim’s psychological state.
- As many cases of violence and sexual assault against children have occurred in hotels in Mongolia, make an additional requirement for hotel businesses in the Law on Licensing so that such businesses are required to get a permit from associated government organization before starting operations. In relation to this, amend the Law on Conflicts so that hotel businesses that violate the law are accounted for a license termination as a legal punishment.
- Ensure that every minor receiving hotel services are accompanied by a parent or guardian, or has parental consent. If a hotel allows a minor to enter and receive service without a guardian or parental consent, the hotel must be stripped off of its permit to operate.
To all members of Cabinet:
- Train and build capacities of special human resources that work with victims of all forms of violence.
- Carry out a national curriculum for parents and adults to provide family education and support family development and constantly revise its content.
- Train and employ state inspectors for children’s rights and intensify enforcement of the Law on Children’s Rights.
- Pay attention to enhancing the skills and ability of staff and professional bodies that receive reports about violations of children’s rights and violence against children and make necessary decisions.
- As children might not be able to report or share their opinion about their rights due to lack of awareness and knowledge, teach children about their rights and related legislation from a young age.
- Assist all government organizations that work with families in every possible way.
Within the scope of the movement, artist Kh.Ariunzaya will launch the “Nudee Nee! Nutsgen Unen” (Open Your Eyes! Naked Truth) art exhibition on November 24 at the Corporate Hotel and Convention Center.