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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 8, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 14
Gay men murdered in Mongolia
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Gay men murdered in Mongolia

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Two brutal murders of Gay men have shocked Mongolia's small LGBT community.

The Mongolia LGBT Center, based in Ulaanbaatar, the country's capital, identified the first victim as 'A Gay male of 40 to 50 years of age who went by the nickname 'S' in the community, a dentist by profession who had a practice in Zuunkharaa town, Selenge province.'

The second victim was 'an HIV-positive Bisexual male 'E,' of 40 to 45 years of age, one of the founders of a community-based non-governmental organization working for HIV-positive people.'

According to the Mongolia LGBT Center, E's 'mutilated body was found on 24 or 25 March 2011: his right hand was cut off and his body was burnt.'

'Although it is obvious that these are hate crimes, police questioned only Gay and Bisexual males in the city in relation to the latest murder as the Gay and Bisexual males are immediately considered automatic suspects in such cases,' the Center said.

The LGBT Center is Mongolia's first human rights NGO.

The Center was finally registered with the government in 2009, after a three-year struggle for official permission to operate.

The name of the organization 'conflicts with Mongolian customs and traditions and has the potential to set the wrong example for youth and adolescents,' an official rejection letter stated.

The government backed down and registered the LGBT Center only after appeals from international human rights organizations, and the direct intervention of the Mongolian presidential advisor for human rights and public participation policy, Oyungerel Tsedevdamba.

Discrimination and human rights abuses against sexual minorities are widespread in Mongolia, according to the Mongolian Minorities Report that was presented at the U.N. Human Rights Council's first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) presented November 2 last year.

'LGBT people have been viciously targeted, beaten and raped; they've been kicked out of their homes and lost their jobs. Rampant discrimination has also forced people to seek asylum to escape constant threats to their lives,' Robyn Garner, executive director of the LGBT Centre, said at the UPR meeting.

While LGBT people in Mongolia have been targets for discrimination and violence in the past, there had recently been hopeful signs that the government was interested in protecting LGBT rights.

For the first time, Mongolian officials discussed LGBT issues at the November UPR meeting in Geneva. At the meeting, seven member states offered Mongolia recommendations for passing anti-discrimination legislation to enhance legal protections for sexual minorities.

Mongolia is a large but sparsely populated country of less than 3 million people.

It became independent of China in 1911, but fell under the influence of the Soviet Union in 1924. The Communist government collapsed in 1990.

LGBT rights activists blame Communist-era ideology for modern-day intolerance.

'Our ancient Buddhist and shamanistic beliefs tolerated and accepted sexual diversity. But the very tolerant traditions have been lost just like our monasteries & and with time, people have forgotten,' said LGBT Center activist Tsedendemberel.

Tsedendemberel added that most Mongolians view homosexuality largely as a Western phenomenon.

One of the few Mongolian Gay men to come out in the open and actively campaign to end discrimination against LGBT persons, Tsedendemberel said he and his family are increasingly anxious about his safety.

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