Your Excellency, Mr. Ts. Nyamdorj, Minister for Justice and Home Affairs,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to represent the United Nations System in Mongolia in greeting you all today at the seventh Annual Human Rights National Forum. As you all know, human rights is what underpins the very charter of the United Nations. Today we are celebrating the International Human Rights Day, a day dedicated to the advancement in the protection of human rights across the continents and countries.
While being part of the global community, Mongolia has cultivated a great tradition of holding Human Rights Forum to observe the International Human Rights day – by discussing various issues related to human rights and proposing policy changes and solutions in addressing these.
Eight years ago, the Parliament of Mongolia approved a landmark document - the National Human Rights Action Programme which was preceded by an admirable preparatory process of nationwide surveys and consultations. The United Nations highly values the significance of this document which outlines actions for the promotion and protection of human rights of the Mongolian people. The United Nations is proud to be together with all actors in the process of development and subsequent implementation of this important document. The Government of Mongolia has shown the highest level of political commitment to the implementation of the programme, including the establishment of the National Human Rights Action Programme Committee chaired by the Prime Minister of Mongolia. Today we are pleased to see that the Action Programme is a living document and that the Government has conducted monitoring of implementation of the related action plan and is discussing the progress together with a wide range of stakeholders, including the civil society. I am sure that today’s discussion will bring further actions and renewed political commitment to the Action Programme.
I am looking forward to the deliberations at this forum and to hear more about the challenges and successes in implementing the Action Programme. In relation to the topic of today’s Forum, I would like to draw your attention to the following:
There is an increasing need to review the progress against the changing international and domestic environment. The global factors such as the impacts of globalisation, urbanisation, climate change, migration, income inequality between countries and within countries have tremendous impacts on the poor and vulnerable segments of population calling for attention from the States. These trends contribute to the emergence of new human rights issues such as transnational crimes, criminalization of governance, corruption, human trafficking and migrants’ rights to name a few. Mongolia faces its unique challenges - the distribution of the benefits of economic growth to its entire people, the protection of the poor and vulnerable groups, possible adverse impacts such as reduced food security, worsened health, water scarcity, changes in eco-systems and biodiversity, and the effects of the booming mining sector.
Therefore, at this juncture in time, a comprehensive assessment of human rights needs in Mongolia against today’s realities, translated into specific goals and practical actions, supported by sufficient resources, will ensure continued high-level commitment to achievement across different levels of Government. It will help to engage all relevant sectors of our society in our human rights agenda.
The United Nations believes that a prioritized action plan would incorporate the recommendations of the international human rights instruments accepted by the Government of Mongolia, including the recent Universal Periodic Review. In following these recommendations, the starting point should be a thorough analysis of the underlying human rights situation and actions should then be identified accordingly.
I would like to finish my speech by quoting from the Human Rights Day Message by the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon: “Human rights belong to every one of us without exception. But unless we know them, unless we demand they be respected, and unless we defend our right – and the right of others – to exercise them, they will be just words in a decades – old document.”
I wish a very successful and substantive Annual Forum!
Thank you for attention.