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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 27 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 26
Mongolia to pass LGBT hate crimes law
Section One
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Mongolia to pass LGBT hate crimes law

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Mongolia's LGBT community will be protected from hate crimes under legislation proposed by that country's government, but human rights groups expressed concern that the draft legislation is too broad to enforce.

Under the new proposal by Mongolia's Justice Minister Khishigdemberel Temuujin, law enforcement agencies would be trained to recognize and report crimes motivated by discrimination and prejudice.

Penalties for crimes that were motivated by discrimination would be increased, and greater compensation would be offered to victims of such crimes.

An initial draft produced in January by human rights groups and justice ministry officials contained language describing 'hate bias,' but the latest version replaces this with more general language covering 'discrimination.'

As a result, some human rights activists voiced concern that the new law might be unenforceable.

'They had intended to draft hate crimes into law,' executive director of Ulaanbaatar's LGBT Center, Anaraa Nyamdorj told Al Jazeera.

'Instead they've codified discrimination, drafting it in such a way - so broad - that it will be very difficult to bring down to an implementation level. It means that Mongolia could very well be one of the first countries in the world to criminalize the very concept of discrimination almost entirely.'

Same-sex relations have been legal in Mongolia since 1961, but homophobic views are pervasive throughout society and LGBT rights were only discussed in parliament for the first time in April of last year.

Hate crimes have emerged as a serious political issue in Mongolia, with neo-Nazi nationalist groups carrying out numerous attacks against the country's LGBT population and local immigrant communities.

Human rights groups say vicious attacks continue to mar Mongolia's international reputation.

On April 10, three foreign men were physically attacked by a neo-Nazi group at a rock concert in Ulaanbaatar, the capital. In February, a Gay man was sexually assaulted by homophobic nationalists. Police initially refused to investigate his case because male-on-male rape is not a crime under Mongolian law.

The man was later found dead, although it remains unclear whether he was murdered or committed suicide because of his ordeal.

'We are not sure whether later [the victim] was murdered - or whether he killed himself,' a local human rights activist told Al Jazeera. The activist asked not to be identified by name.

In September 2009 three Transgender women were kidnapped in broad daylight at one of Ulaanbaatar's busiest malls by a local neo-Nazi group. They were then driven to a cemetery on the city's outskirts where they were beaten and raped.

The women say they were targeted because of their sexual orientation, with the men describing the vicious assaults as a 'warning to their kind,' one victim says.

Once a close ally of the Soviet Union, Mongolia stretches over the steppes between China and Russia. There are somewhat less than 3 million Mongolians. Almost half the population lives in the capital, Ulaanbaatar.

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