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National coalition of ngos of the rights of the child

National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
in Mongolia
(1995-2000)
Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia on the Second Report of the Government of Mongolia to the UN Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia Table of Contents
Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia 1. Introduction
Mongolia joined the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child(CRC) in 1990
and became the 7th country which supports and implements the convention.
The present Alternative Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child refers to the
Mongolian Government’s Second Periodic Report (reporting period 1995-2000) to the
United Nations on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This report has been
compiled by the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia and
it is the first alternative report to be handed to the UN on the implementation of the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child in Mongolia.
The National Coalition was formally founded in 1999 by 23 non-governmental
organisations. Today, it encompasses around 60 organisations, institutions and initiatives
of nation-wide significance that are active across a variety of areas for the
implementation of children’s rights in Mongolia. The Coalition is located at the
Mongolian Child Rights Centre. It works to unite and build capacity of the member
organizations, with the Save the Children’s (UK) technical and financial assistance. In
addition, the Save the Children (UK) has provided the financial and methodological
support in the organization of the working group and arrangement of the contract with the
independent researcher who worked on the present alternative report. A list of member
organisations and the members of the working group are included in the appendix.
(Appendix 1,2)
The report covers processes and events of period of the 1995-2000 and the NGOs aim to
evaluate the implementation of the Rights of the Child in Mongolia in practice after
studying the Mongolian Government’s initial report.
Mongolian laws and legislations providing the protection of the child rights, related
materials, researches and reports from government and non–government organizations
were used for the report. (selection of resources are attached, Appendix 3)
In the period covered by this report, the National Coalition and its member NGOs have
been concentrating on the following main areas related to protection of children’s rights:
- Street and abandoned children
- School dropouts
- Child security and poverty
- Abused children
- Children with disabilities
- Imprisoned children
They have implemented many other projects independently or with international
organizations (UNICEF, Save the Children- UK, World Vision, Kristina Nobel
Foundation and etc ) and the Mongolian government. During 1995-2000 NGOs were
supported materially and intellectually by the international organizations and for the
present there is an established network.
Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia The Mongolian government also has implemented several noteworthy actions for
children protection. However, due to the many negative social changes the issues related
to the child were very serious and there are still many problems not mentioned, left out
or not reflected in the government report. The government report was late and it
decreases the efficiency of the present report to a certain degree. The above mentioned
obstacles, and many other issues like unsatisfactory implementation of legislations and
provisions and law amendments in real life justifies the importance of the present report.
2. Status of the child in Mongolia
The current population of Mongolia is 2.4 million out of which one third live in the
capital city Ulaanbaatar. The capital is the political, cultural and financial center. The
living conditions and development in Ulaanbaatar are drastically different to the
countryside, which has almost no infrastructure.
Of the total population, 35.8 percent are children aged 0-15 years and 45 percent are aged
0-18 years old. From the above, it is clear that the issues concerning children are very
important for Mongolia and in the report we are discussing the implementation of the
rights of half of the population.
It should be mentioned that during the transitional period which was painful for the
country’s economy, the government paid a lot of attention to children’s issues and put
them on the priority list. However, during 1995-2000 the government was not stable, and
was changing frequently which negatively influenced the implementation of the policies
covering children’s rights. Every time when the government changed the child related
structures were changing which led to the neglect of the child related issues and
influenced negatively the policy implementation.
One of the main reasons for the violation of the child rights is poverty. According to the
1998 national research on livelihood 36 percent of population in Mongolia is poor. The
poverty level did not increase officially between 1995-2000 but the depth of poverty and
income difference is on the increase.
The following 5 categories of people are mostly affected by poverty:
1. Households headed by single parents 2. Households with less than 100 livestock (depending on number of people and 3. Unemployed people 4. Disadvantaged groups (elderly, disabled, street, and orphan children) If we compare situation of 1995-1998, the number of poor people decreased in Ulaanbaatar and increased in other towns and settlements. For nomads, natural disasters like harsh winters and drought pushed many households to the poverty line. A large number of people from the countryside have been migrating to Ulaanbaatar and the tendency shows that this process will continue. Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia The state first of all focused on the development projects, e.g. creating working places to fight poverty. According to the “Child, development-2000” research, the majority of poor people in towns and settlements live in gers (traditional felt dwellings) and about 30 percent use unprotected water resources. Pure water resources differ in countryside and cities.1 During the transitional period, the number of school dropouts, especially boys in the countryside, has increased. This is related to the livestock privatization when parents, due to the deficit of the work force in the countryside, would take their sons to help them with family livestock. This gradually led to a negative gender gap among students in secondary and higher education.2 Following the privatization in heavy and light industries, many factories closed down and a large number of people lost their jobs. They started traveling for merchandising or started living and working abroad for longer periods of time. Children were left behind without proper care. Also during this time, a teacher’s salary was very low and not distributed on time. Therefore many teachers chose to leave schools for small businesses. In 1999 around 44,842 children were living with only one of their parents. In single father households, fathers have poor capacity and skills in caring and looking after children. Their children tend to feel emotionally and physically low and noticeably hungry. This shows the disadvantage of the traditionally embedded idea that only women are responsible for the childcare. Boys are not prepared for their future roles as fathers, and not encouraged to learn to take care of other people’s needs. In Mongolia there is a pressing necessity to increase father’s involvement and participation in children’s upbringing. The state must focus on this issue at a policy level. One form of violation of children’s rights is that children’s allowances are not paid in most cases after the divorce. Parents’ responsibility for their children is weak and law enforcement employees pay little attention and effort in these cases. In order to create more working places, the government sends a significant number of people abroad to work. On the one hand this is a very positive action. However on the other hand many families are separated for longer periods of time and children “artificially” become orphans. The state must approach this issue in it’s complexity and provide conditions for families to work and live together. This should be reflected in work contracts and negotiations. It should be mentioned that the state has been taking many direct measures to solve urgent issues concerning children. Especially, the state cooperated and was very supportive in the establishment of many child centers for street children. However, because of the absence of family oriented policies, a supportive legal environment and shortage of professionals prepared to work with children, the anticipated objectives were not achieved. Children and their families received material aid, but mechanisms to allow them to return to society were not established and issues of domestic violence were not Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia taken in to account. Due to these weaknesses the problems were not solved and still exist. The statistical indicators decreased, but the problem deepened. Between 1995-2000, the government has succeeded in decreasing the child mortality rate and solved the vaccination issue. The government report describes these achievements in detail, therefore they are not included in the present report. The state’s policy actions unfortunately tend to focus more on statistical numbers rather than taking actions directly towards public awareness and understanding of the issues and providing correct information, research and facts to the public. The state approaches the issues as “firefighting” instead of solving them in context and preventing future problems. This report aims to show the violations of children rights in Mongolia and let the public become aware of the following rights of the child: • Children’s healthy and safe environment (food, nutrition, medical service and • Children’s education, development and equal participation (child friendly environment, teacher and pupil relationship, activities outside school and disabled children) • Child protection (violence against the child, child crime and crimes committed against the child, peer pressure, imprisoned children, child labor)
Due to the limited time given for the preparation of the report, many other issues
concerning children’s rights in Mongolia are not covered, but are intended to be included
in future reports. The legal framework for the rights of the child in Mongolia has been
described in detail in the government report to the UN, therefore it is not included here.
Children’s participation is absent in this report. This can be explained by the fact that
between 1995-2000 child participation was very limited. During this period the issue of
child participation was only emerging and until the present there is little change. There
was a series of conferences held within the framework of UNICEF’s research on the
needs of Mongolian adolescents. In 1999, 104 teenager representatives from 21 aimags
(provinces) and 8 districts in Ulaanbaatar, participated in the “Adolescents Voices”
conference. The Mongolian Scouts Association participated and cooperated actively with
the government in this research.3 Also in order to encourage child participation, the UN,
the Mongolian Womens Association for Social Progress and the Mongolian government
jointly have organized a number of conferences.
3. Children’s Healthy and Safe Environment

3.1 Children’s Food and Nutrition
The problem of child food and nutrition has become a critical issue in the past decade and
it is in the center of public attention at the present.
Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia National research on food and nutrition conducted in 1999 identified an alarming conclusion that in the last ten years there has been no progress or development in the quality and provision of children’s food and nutrition. It is a fact that the physical development progress of a quarter of children under 5 years old has slowed down. Also most shockingly the growth of 18.4 percent of children, which is 1 in 10, is in serious danger of being permanently impeded. In spite of these disturbing findings, the state ignores the problem.4 There is no gender distinction, but the first child in a family is likely to receive better food and nutrition. This is not caused by the tradition but by the families’ limited budget. This shows there is a need to provide intensive training for families with low income and many children concerning unplanned pregnancies to prevent these problems. Fathers of the families should also be involved in these kinds of trainings. To fight parents’ unawareness and lack of responsibility towards their children’s health and development, the state must widely use media campaigns. In practice parents’ knowledge about the importance of children’s food and nutrition, and the educational level is more vital than their income. Educated or informed parents, regardless of their level of income, try to provide better environment for their children to study and develop. Inadequate nutrition and lack of food for children is more common in the countryside with only a few varieties of products available. They are flour, meat and dairy products. Local schools, together with parents, should organize trainings to educate parents on the importance of nutrition for children’s development. Also they should be trained to utilize local natural resources e.g. forest fruits, mushrooms, wild onions and other edible plants. The Mongolian Nutrition and Food Institution conducted research in 1997 on children’s food and diet. According to the research, 46.9 percent of children were underweight and 49.8 percent were under the standard height for their age.5 This research is the last national level research on school children’s food and diet. It is unclear what follow up measures were taken after the research recommendations. At present there are no realistic statistics indicating what has changed since 1997 in children’s diet and development. Due to the scarcity of substantial research it is impossible to make any evaluations. Therefore, there is an urgent need for another study on a national level. Children from poor families cannot afford lunch at schools and even do not have enough food at home. To ease the situation it is recommended to include in school budgets hot “aarts” (boiled yoghurt) during the winter and spring seasons, or to provide healthy snacks (free of charge), especially in poor districts and rural areas. It is required for children to be examined by doctors at least twice a year. Unfortunately in Mongolia the practice is absent at the present. Therefore there are no statistics and research results on school children’s physical development. In Mongolia 70 percent of total food products are imported. At 17 customs points dispersed around Mongolian borders, food and health inspectors monitor imported products for safety. However the structure is in infancy and due to the shortage of trained specialists and proper technology, the inspection is done almost on an intuitive level Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia only. Special attention is required when monitoring imported children’s food (infant food, candies, bakery, soft drinks etc.). It is important to organize trainings for food and health inspectors on children’s food and nutrition, and also to provide them with necessary equipment. During the shift to a market economy the government food policy was eliminated and imports were shifted in to the hands of private individuals and companies. They tend to focus on profit and ignore the product quality and standards by providing cheap food that may endanger people’s health. If the state will keep ignoring this serious issue, it can grow to an issue of national security.
3.2 Drug Supply
During the transitional period to a market economy the state drug policy was lost and
many individual retailers emerged. The number of pharmacies increased drastically, but
the prices offered were too expensive for the most of the population.
According to the drug policy, all children were provided with vitamin D until 1997.
Between 1997-1998, vitamin D and minerals provision stopped. Pharmacies sell vitamin
D, but it is expensive and not many people can afford it.6
There is a lack of knowledge about appropriate use of drugs. As a result the number of patients with drug and chemical poisoning has been increasing in the past years. Among the cases of acute poisoning of drugs and chemicals, 8.9 percent are children of 0-10 years old and 45.5 percent are between 11-20 years old.7 There are many cases of overdose with teenagers who tried to solve family problems through drugs. Due to the poor knowledge and same drugs are sold under different names there is a repeated usage that results in overdose. To prevent these sorts of cases the state must monitor and promote the appropriate usage of children’s drugs and develop children’s medicine policy and trade standards. In Mongolian legislation and articles about drugs and their usage, there are no sections concerning childrens drugs.8 The legislation allows drug importers to trade children’s drugs without control, and children are forced to take medicine for adults mechanically divided in to four. Foreign drugs for children are very expensive and their supply is not consistent. Therefore people try to substitute the prescribed medicine by less expensive, inappropriate versions. In hospitals the drugs provision is not enough for the actual needs, and most of the time patients are forced to purchase medicine from outside of hospitals. This is another burden for families with low income and leads to abandoning or giving up medical services. People try to treat themselves at home by domestic methods. The public is aware of the fact that it is common among doctors and medical personnel to treat patients differently according to their income. However there is not any substantial Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia research about this negative phenomenon. The mechanism for punishing medical
personnel who misuse their position or who requested and received gifts and rewards is
weak. It is essential to strengthen the mechanism where citizens can report the
irresponsible attitudes and lack of proper actions of medical personnel. The public should
also be involved in monitoring the implementation of state regulations in order to prevent
future misconduct.
4. Child Education, Development and Equal
Participation

4.1 Child Friendly Environment
Every child should be provided with all the conditions for study and development. In
Mongolia for the present, many children do not have textbooks, school uniforms, study
desks, chairs, space at home and are even deprived of elementary hand washing facilities.
It is evident from the “Child Friendly School Assessment Report” (1999-2000), that the issue of school dormitories in the countryside should be seriously reconsidered. In school dormitories, from 6-8 children live together in a 10-12 square meter room and because there are not enough tables and chairs children have to study on their beds.9 The monitoring mechanism whereby parents and public take control over the hygiene implementation and children needs within the dormitories is required. In recent years the state paid attention to the development and distribution of textbooks, but the quality of paper and printing was not adequate. Only organizations and people who offered low budget publishing options were supported, which lead to low quality publishing when textbooks were easily worn out, not up to the health standards, gradually developing bad smell and even containing bacteria. One of the main criteria for the textbooks should be the child’s health requirement in addition to the content and cost. The Ministry of Education and Science requires the textbooks borrowed from school libraries to be used for a minimum 5 years. One of the disadvantages of this is that children, especially in primary classes, have to use torn, old books, which discourages them from reading books. Except for textbooks, children’s literature for the further development of a child outside of school programs, is totally absent. There is no policy to encourage children to read and the cost of translation of world classic books is not included in the state budget. The state must invest in school libraries, create reading lists for children and provide them with other learning resources besides textbooks. The verdict of 96 percent of teachers is that schools do not have any policy on medical services.10 Doctors are absent at schools. In the countryside, due to the shortage of doctors children do not have access to regular medical examinations. Also 75 percent of Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia teachers complained about inadequate water and heating systems, 75 percent of school children complained that school toilets are dirty and smell badly. In the countryside children cannot use washing facilities after using toilets, which limits the prevention of infections. The state jointly with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare should take drastic measures on the national policy level. For the present only a few foreign organizations are trying to implement projects in some parts of the country. If we take into account children’s participation, 36.9 percent of children say that they do not know their rights and 45.9 percent can not express their will and thoughts freely. The research answers and descriptions from school administrators and teachers about the school environment differ from those of children’s. This is evidence that school authorities ignore children voices and do not value their participation in the school’s decision making. In the evaluation of the school achievement it is crucial to involve children, parents and teachers, rather than having only higher institutions and organizations to make decisions. UNICEF has been working for three years on promotion of the concept of the child friendly school within Primary education – and it has achieved certain results. Unfortunately the project did not succeed to influence the state policy concerning the school requirements. 4.2 Teacher and Pupil Relationship
Teachers are supposed to provide a good example of communication and behavior.
However there is an alarming sign of growing number of incidents when teachers
verbally, mentally and physically abuse children. It is clear that there is a certain degree
of violence in the present teacher-pupil relationship. There is an urgent need to focus
public attention on the issue, research should be done and the results should be
distributed to all related organizations and public in general.
Example

Our music teacher shouted at me horribly and blamed me for not preparing my
lessons, I was very frightened and for the first time revealed the domestic violence at home. “My father came drunk last night and started abusing us, I could not prepare my lesson”. Teacher said “You deserve it, serves you right! It is your fault to have such a father.” After this I thought that it is hopeless to tell anyone about my (Agency for Prevention and Protection of Children against Abuse and Neglect) Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia During the transition period, teachers started “hidden” business (forcing pupils to buy books, handouts, newspapers, collecting money for “class funds” etc.). The public is aware of this. Again there is no study on the issue and children from vulnerable social groups are under a lot of economic pressure. This situation contradicts the principle of free primary and secondary education for all children. Teachers misuse their authority and find ways to earn extra money from children. The cases of selling unnecessary books, materials (of own production or other unauthorized resources) and forcing children to purchase them have only started in 1995-2000, but now are widespread and affect many children and their families. Children constantly ask money from their parents and this is a big burden for low income and poor families. Also based on this situation, discrimination emerges. Parents hand their children to school and kindergarten teachers, and then they do not interfere in order not to harm their children. Children who are not able to find money suffer more and some even avoid schools.11 Darkhan-Uul District, D. is 12 year old, O. is 13 years old, C. is 14 years old, Z. is 14 years old and G. is 15 years old. They work as small retailers at the train station. To the question, what difficulties they face in their studies? They answered: teachers ask for cash for holidays or for children’s birthdays. They do not allow us in to class if children have no textbooks or notebooks. We are poor and children do not play with us. We do not have clothes to wear for school, no money, school stationary is expensive, rich and wealthy children bully us. Teachers discriminate us. (Assessment of Children and Women Status in Mongolia. 2000) In the examples above we do not refer to all kindergarten and secondary school teachers. There are many leading teachers who show great professional and personal examples to others. However it is essential to draw public attention to this issue. To decrease and eliminate the incidents, the research should be done by NGOs together with college and universities that prepare future teachers. Courses on child rights should be developed and embedded into their curriculum. It is recommended to have an official hour dedicated to child rights in primary and secondary schools. The content of the hour should be close to the child’s immediate environment, so children can have enough information about their own rights and how they are protected on the international and national level. As a result, children will have an information to monitor the implementation in real life. This will be a child empowering process. The state has already given an hour for free topic in secondary schools, which is a very positive action. However the topics of this one-hour are usually irrelevant and not close to children’s reality and that makes the free topic hour less significant. NGOs can help in the development of the curriculum for this hour and cooperate with the state. The salaries and social security issues of teachers should be taken into account in order to decrease the social and economic frustration among teachers. Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia 4.3 Child activities outside school environment
It is a drawback that secondary school authorities and teachers are assessed by their
pupils’ educational achievements only, and receive rewards from the state and related
organizations on this basis. This leads teachers to chase after figures and numerical
indicators, and as a result there is a tendency to discriminate against children based on
their educational results. Teachers support and encourage high achievers or more talented
pupils, and do not properly attend to the artistic and creative needs of other children.
Children are discouraged to try out and discover their abilities, and they feel left behind.
Participation of each child should become a priority in school events, and authorities
should guarantee the environment for every child to be involved to a certain degree. In
connection with this, the state should reconsider the requirements for the teacher success
reward system in the education sector.
During 1995-2000 public places for the purpose of children’s activities were closed down
and given to other business organizations. For example, a bank took over the children
library building, a stock exchange organization took over the children’s cinema. Also,
many playgrounds were destroyed and turned in to garages or new construction sites. For
the present there are very few places for children to attend outside of school. This
situation leads many teenagers to hang around aimlessly in the streets, and we can
conclude that to a certain extent, there is no children friendly environment in
Ulaanbaatar.12 New entertainment centers require entrance fees and are very costly for
teenagers, therefore most children are not covered by their services.
To address the school children’s social needs, Save the Children UK, the Mongolian Child Rights Center and the State Pedagogic University together implemented the “School Social Worker” project in 1997. It was very successful and as a result all schools were provided with social worker vacancies.13 A school social worker is the main implementer of child rights, a child protector and a person who protects children from risks. Unfortunately, in general school authorities do not fully accept and understand the role or importance of school social worker and tend to mistake them as purely cultural and social events organizers. Authorities see their responsibility merely as collecting money and announcing school social events. Plus, many high-ranking educational officers undervalue the significance of the social worker in schools. 4.4 Disabled Children
Before 1989, disabled people were provided with special schools and care centers and the
state considered their needs separately. This served the basic needs of disabled people,
but on the other hand they were left out of the social and political life of the country.
After the economic and political changes in 1990, all the above institutions were
destroyed. Facing the financial difficulties the special schools were closed down and
social security supplies for disabled children have dropped dramatically.
Between 1994-1998 the initiative to integrate disabled children into normal schools emerged, and a project on the “ Integration of Disabled Children ” from DANIDA (Danish Government Project) was implemented in 4 aimags and 2 schools. Also tSave the Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia Children UK has started the “Inclusive Education” project to make changes on the policy level for disabled children. There has been no policy actions taken to involve disabled children who are outside of the school system. The Ministry of Education and Science has reported that 37 percent of disabled children are outside of educational system.14 Households with disabled children mostly belong to the low-income social groups. By taking care of their children, parents are limited or restricted in their possibilities to work. There is a lack of support from organizations for these parents, and working hours are not flexible which doubles the burden of existing problems. Statistics shows that 77 percent of disabled children are born with the disability, 23 percent obtain the disability at a later stage, and only 15 percent are covered by rehabilitation treatments. There are no facts about moderately disabled children (e.g. with poor hearing or bad eyesight or speaking difficulties).15 A child‘s situation gets worse by not being able to receive the necessary rehabilitation treatment. Parents constantly need money for expensive diagnoses and treatments, however the government does not properly support these families with financial aid. In most cases mothers are blamed for giving birth to a disabled child, families hide and separate the child from the society.16 Therefore they are not able to receive the assigned help even it is available. Even though the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has a policy to provide medicine at discounted prices for disabled children, the implementation of the law is not satisfactory, and parents are ignorant about these provisions and therefore do not receive the benefits. First of all, to change the negative attitude of public towards disabled children and their parents, especially mothers, the state should take actions to enlighten the public. When she was 19 years old, O. married B. in 1995. She gave a birth to a girl who was born with brain damage. Her parents in law were very upset and blamed O. for the tragedy. They started persuading their son to divorce. Her husband also blamed O. and soon left her. O. has to raise her daughter alone, and her daughter needs (Association of Parents With Disabled Children) According to the law, the cost of artificial limbs and orthopedic equipment must be compensated 100 percent by the state. This law does not meet the needs of a growing child, as there is a need to replace the equipment after a while. The law also states that wheel chairs should be provided once free of charge to disabled people. However this law only applies to those who are under the poverty line. On the other hand the government wheelchair supply does not meet the real demand. Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia Several projects were implemented in order to make disabled children active members of
the society by providing a proper environment for disabled children to study and live
among other children. Regrettably, those projects could not involve the general public.
Buildings, roads, traffic lights, public transportation in Mongolia are not suitable to serve
disabled children. This fact contradicts the principle of equal participation of all members
of the society. There are no school facilities for wheelchairs, schools do not have special
stairs, lifts and special purpose toilets for disabled children. All the above become
constraints for disabled children and people to be actively participating in the society.
Children are more isolated and stay at home. Therefore, the state must strongly focus on
the implementation of laws concerning disability, especially in standards of new
constructions and roads.
5. Child protection

5.1 Violence against the child
Violence against the child is directly related to the stress derived from poverty,
unemployment and other critical life issues and unfortunately, children are becoming
stress release objects. In Mongolia, violence against the child is related to the fact that
parents and children do not know about children’s rights and are unaware of different
methods of solving disputes and conflicts other than by force. Society sees domestic
violence more as a family matter rather than a social issue, and there is ignorant about the
fact that basic human rights of children and women are violated.
Several organizations work on human rights protection separately, without a united
policy. In 1995-1998 terminology of violence was new or foreign to Mongolian society
and the knowledge to diagnose and identify the violence as abnormal behavior was
absent. Therefore, the society itself was avoiding the issue instead of solving it, and
society was insisting that there is no violence present in Mongolia. Unfortunately this
attitude can still be witnessed now. The National Center Against Violence carried out
research on domestic violence, where 58.6 percent of participating children responded
that they live in a peaceful normal environment. However, almost the same 54.5 percent
of children claimed that there is fighting, verbal accusations, chasing and knifing
incidents in their families. This shows poor knowledge and understanding of the nature of
violence among children. 17
As a result of the research in 1998, where around 1131 children from cities and the
countryside participated, 54.39 percent of children are victims of some form of
violence and 63.73 percent are witnesses of domestic violence.18
The Research findings suggest that 1 child in every 2 is a victim or a witness of violence.
It can be concluded that at least 1 child in 3 is not safe at home. Who is the abuser?
42.7 percent of abusers are the child’s own father, 26.5 percent are the mother, 10.8
percent the stepfather, 1.5 percent the stepmother, 24.9 percent are siblings and 6.3
percent are brothers and sisters- in- law.
Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia From these results the widespread public opinion that only stepparents abuse their
children is proved to be surprisingly inaccurate. It is important to promote the idea that
the abuser can be anyone, even the family members.
There is no help center for abused children, except one child protection center
that does not meet children’s basic needs, and the attitude of the personnel is
inadequate, with no experience of work with children. Only in severe cases of violence
are children separated from their abuser and taken into this center. Also this center serves
runaway children and children with behavioral difficulties, which is not suitable for
abused children who need special care and help.
The abused child needs a serious rehabilitation treatment because they tend to be stressed
for long periods of time, which will negatively affect the child’s future. However there is
no organization that helps abused children to return back as active social members, and to
recover from their mental damages. The absence of a sufficient number of professional
child psychologists in Mongolia is one of the problems the state should solve urgently.
The government should cooperate with existing NGOs and their personnel who are
experienced and relatively prepared in working with disadvantaged children.
Children run away from their homes, because of constant conflict and discomfort within
their families. The home workloads assigned to girls in cities and countryside are equally
high. For example, 49 percent of adolescent girls in soum (village) centers and 37 percent
of girls in cities and settlements spend most of their free time doing household chores.19
Example
I do not want to go home, my brother Ochiroo orders me to clean the house, and
when I clean the house he beats me saying it is not clean enough. Also when I do
mistakes in my homework he beats me with TV antenna. He also beats my two
sisters and my mother terribly.
8 years old boy
(Agency for Prevention and Protection of Children against Abuse and Neglect )
Adults put too much responsibility for other people on children’s shoulder and instead of
supporting them demand more than they should do, and blame them for failures of not
satisfying the expected performance. This has become almost a common picture in most
families. The child must excel in their studies, must clean the house, must look after their
younger siblings, must cook and must obey. Some families even call their children their
servants or as “Oshin” (a famous Japanese soap opera character who works hard since
early childhood). The children’s household labor should be restricted in terms of time and
load to allow children enough time and energy to study and to obtain necessary
knowledge to function successfully in the new century.
Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia Sexual abuse
Studies show that of 158 sexually abused girls and women, 64 percent were raped by
their family members or people they know.20 Of which 13.8 percent were stepfathers,
10.1 percent were fathers, 14.4 percent were relatives and the rest were people they knew.
The number of victims who are girls under age 14 was 47.3 percent or 26 in 1998, 46.2
percent or 24 in 1999, and 31.4 percent in 2000. However, the above figures cover only
cases reported to the police and prosecuted by the court. There are many cases not
reported to the police, hidden or dismissed during the investigation. Also the police and
the society understand and approach the child sexual abuse incorrectly.
A lengthy period of time is needed to investigate these cases, victims have to face their
abuser and society blames the victims and their families for the incident. If the abuser is
the family breadwinner, the case is usually hidden and never revealed. Therefore it is
important to change the social attitude towards young sexual abuse victims (girls/boys)
and we should prevent them from being victimized again during the investigation
process.
Child prostitution cases are increasing drastically. Most girls involved in prostitution are
former victims of sexual abuse themselves. The number of adults who force and involve
children into prostitution is increasing.21
Example:

Citizen I, her husband Ts, and their friend M were arrested in front of the “Ard”
cinema while trying to force 15 years old B. into prostitution. Ts ran away during
the arrest. During the investigation it was discovered that B was forced into
prostitution 4 times before. The main offender I. previously also forced 14 year old
H to prostitute herself for about a month. This unemployed woman forces homeless
under aged girls living in underground city tunnels to provide sexual services for
7000 Tugrics a day and 5000 Tugrics an hour and used to take their money.
(National Center Against Violence, 2001)
Mongolia has been promoting an open policy and many foreign tourists and business
people visit the country. There is no guarantee that child sex will not be developed in
Mongolia and therefore it is essential to establish an advertising campaign stating its
dangers in order to prevent the crime.
5.2 Peer Pressure
Peer pressure is increasing significantly. As a result of the conflict between rich and poor
children, there is a trend to “substitute” material needs, which they cannot have at home,
from other children by force. The figures of child crime are stable however the number of
group organized crimes is on the increase which is a sign that child crime is becoming
Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia more sophisticated.22 This is an indication that the problem is not temporary but
becoming an issue for a longer period of time.
Children are a mirror of the society and the fact that the number of crimes committed by
them against other children shows present Mongolian society’s deep-rooted problems.
Parents discriminate against their immigrant neighbors from countryside and their
children also mistreat their neighbor’s children at school. There are cases when boys
abuse girls in their class and hand them to older guys.23 According to research which is
done by the Agency for Prevention and Protection of Children against Abuse and
Neglect, funded by the Save the Children UK, among 409 secondary school children,
19.3 percent of boys beat girls, 35.4 percent of boys beat boys and 4.4 percent girls beat
girls (abuse). This means that peer pressure is a serious issue in secondary schools today.
Children learn and copy adults who swear outside, at home and at school. Teachers,
parents, public, especially fathers, should directly participate in the fight against the peer
pressure. This movement should start with adults, as there is a lack of propaganda against
everyday swearing, rude and cruel behavior among adults.

5.3 Child crime and crimes committed against a child
Children are in the front line of the crime prone groups. The crime prone should be
understood in terms that on one-hand children commit different crimes and on other hand
children are victims of other crimes. In Mongolia fundamental research on child crime
and its social reasons is almost absent. There are not enough statistics and figures of the
related organizations to draw some valuable conclusions on the phenomenon.
In 1995, 128 children were killed during the crime, which is 40.7 percent more in
comparison to 1994. This is a very alarming difference and a decrease is not likely.24 The
number of child victims in road accidents and homicides has increased dramatically. For
example, the number of children killed in homicides increased by 53.4 percent and the
number of children killed in road accidents increased by 14.9 percent. Also in the same
year, 301 children were injured which is 25 percent more than in 1994. At the same time,
the number of children injured in road accidents has increased by 78.8 percent. This is
related to the fact that public places for children were eliminated and children started
playing in places not specially designed and built for children. Plus, an increasing number
of poorly trained drivers, without proper understanding about road safety, the absence of
any special road signs and slow down signals near schools, all contribute to the growing
number. The traffic police do not regularly organize trainings for children about road
safety behavior. If any training is provided it is not consistent, it is short term and
involves a few children only. The secondary school administration, NGOs and traffic
police must pay attention to this issue and work jointly on it. Parents should also teach
their children about road safety.
Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia 5.4 Imprisoned children
Mongolia has 27 prisons, one of them is for children (boys only) and one for women. The
children’s prison is the only organization on the national level of this kind. Under aged
girls serve their sentences in separate rooms but in the same prison with adult women.
In the children’s prison there are around 100-120 children who are serving their sentences
at the same time. 60-80 percent of children are in prison for robbery. 40-50 percent are
street or orphan children, 30-40 percent are illiterate and have never attended schools.25
The above children’s prison has classrooms and many different training facilities for
children. The prison for boys is located in Ulaanbaatar, therefore is accessible for the
NGOs’ support. Kristina Nobel Foundation and the Mongolian Child Rights Center have
been working very closely with the children’s prison. In addition, World Vision has been
implementing the “ Open Zone’ project at the place as well
.
The most imprisoned children are orphans or runaways from their families. Therefore, it
is important to develop and implement trainings for the socialization of these children
before their release date. Children released from prison are left alone and there is a
danger they will be involved in crime again. The work must continue for children’s well
being even after the release. NGOs should cooperate with the prison social workers and
provide the necessary information to the child. At present the prison social workers are
funded by the NGOs therefore the state should open an official vacancy for the social
workers in prisons.
Example:
I can not live without robbery. Life requires me to steal. I have no place to go.
Where should I go after the prison? I will not be changed and I think I will go back
to prison again.
18 years old boy
(The issues of children in conflict with law. UNICEF)
There is a need to provide prison staff with trainings on the child rights, psychology and
essential care, and to improve their skills. All prisons have common internal regulations
therefore the needs of children whose freedom is restricted by law are not met. The
internal regulations for the children prisons must be reconsidered and renovated.
The imprisoned children should receive the same standard secondary school education as
others and the quality of the trainings should be monitored. There is a need or request
from children to develop the practical courses according to the latest market economy
needs and requirements. This will help them to succeed later in their lives. In order to
socialize the imprisoned children after their period is served, there is a need to make
changes on all levels of the society to eliminate negative attitude towards these children.
Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia People are frightened, likely to blame and discriminate against these children. The media
should be involved and results are expected from the enlightening campaign. In other
words the society should be convinced that these children are victims of poverty and
social violence and it is a responsibility of the society to take care of these children.
5.5 Child labor
The issue of child labor has been at the center of attention for the last ten years. The issue
directly derives from the previously mentioned poverty and unemployment that affect
many parts of the society. In Mongolia 349.8 thousand people live under the poverty
level with less than 11.005 Tugrics income per month.26 This is 14.6 percent of the total
population. Single mothers, children under 16 of age and elderly cover half of the
population in poverty.
In 1999-2000 around 52.466 children dropped out of school and most of them were
involved in some form of labor.27 First of all, the social security of children working long
hours in an unofficial environment is violated. Their health and lives are in serious
danger. The state must provide monitoring tools for the cases when children work many
hours in hazardous environments that threaten the physical and mental development of
the child. Also the state must focus their attention on the protection of children’s rights.
The state must support children forced to work in order to earn for their families, and
develop a policy to provide safe and suitable working environments.28
We can divide children engaged in labor into 3 categories:
1 Street children
2 Children who have to provide for their families
3 Countryside children
Street children are drawn into survival activities, which strongly violate the children’s
rights, even touching the basic rights to live. For example: begging, collecting garbage
from garbage bins, collecting raw materials, gathering food from the left over of the
canteens, shoe polishing, singing in public places, carrying people during rain, picking
and selling nuts and fruits, selling coal pieces, working at gold/coal mines, throwing the
household garbage, washing cars, carrying people’s luggage, selling sweets, drinks and
cigarettes in the streets, peeling and cleaning vegetables in canteens, disposing waste
water, stealing, robbery of drunk people, prostitution, selling girls, pick pocketing,
smuggling hats, bags and jewelry, threatening and taking other children’s possessions.
G. Batchimeg in her study of “The present status of the child labor during the market
economy” suggested that the police, especially child inspectors, should have a record on
each street child.29 It is also suggested that police should work together with NGOs to
define and study reasons for children to escape and leave their families. They both should
work on the socializing these children again. One method to fight this phenomenon is to
change the negative perspective towards street children, which has been developing
among the public. There are number of people who assume that these children voluntarily
Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia ran away from their families, because they just dislike the study and now are provided with basics by the foreign and local aid organizations, and the number is increasing. These children are counted as criminals and dangerous social elements instead of being treated as victims. This situation may become an obstacle later in the implementation of the legislation concerning children’s rights. Children providing for their families Labor of children providing for their families tend to require a lot of physical force, the working environment is difficult and labor is not protected. There are children who have to work outside all year around. In some cases the employers undervalue the child labor and avoid paying them or frequently pay them by old clothes or food. Children working in places like gold/coal mines put their lives at stake and do not have any health or workplace injury insurances. Therefore, the state should proclaim the status of the child working to provide for their families as official, and must monitor whether the proper insurance and working environment is provided for the child. Legal trainings on labor legislation to be done among these children and child labor lawyers to be assigned to work with them. This work could be done with the help of NGOs. In addition, there is a need to organize a training and enlightenment work among the employers concerning children’s rights and their payments. The countryside child labor is one form of widespread traditional child labor. Children contribute tremendously to the family income by their own labor, however the idea of salary and benefits is totally absent. In the countryside, the small and medium businesses are mostly family businesses and there is no practice of making a work contract with the children. People tend to see the countryside child labor as a learning method or children’s duty. Therefore, they forget to pay salaries or some benefits to children. To change the above situation the local authorities should take proper actions by organizing trainings or workshops for parents and children in the countryside on child labor law. They should also provide monitoring on the assigning and implementation of the work contracts. Children participated in the previously mentioned research, “The present state of child labor during the market economy”, and expressed the wish to join an association that will protect their rights. From here, the state and NGOs should make evaluations and take proper actions. Among children involved in the research, 60.3 percent were boys, and that means in coming years there would be a little change or alteration in the gender gap witnessed in education. The action should be taken to change the wide spread assumption among the public that boys can survive without education and girls, being weak, should attend schools. The fact that adults decide children’s future without consulting them or taking into account the child’s priorities, leads to negative outcomes in the elimination of poverty. We can see that the majority of the poor people are uneducated. Children dropping out of schools, putting obstacles for children to obtain or continue their education, leads to the increasing number of low educated poor households and leads to negative results. Poor families face economic problems that in turn are the main reason to involve children in Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia the family or private businesses. However, the enlightenment work among parents on the
importance of education, the provision of a positive environment for study and not
creating obstacles for further education is essential.
6. Summary of recommendations

Children’s safe and healthy environment
• Organize national research on the nutrition and food situation of secondary school children; study the possibilities to provide children with nutritional food and vitamins during school seasons and make effective the advocacy and promotion of nutrition’s importance. • Stabilize the process of preventative medical examination of children. Teach children systematically about the healthy way of living. • Monitor and promote the policy of appropriate usage of drugs and improve the quality and standards of medical products for children. • Eliminate the misconduct and irresponsible attitudes in the treatment of children’s health; provide monitoring and increase the public participation and awareness of the medical personnel’s irresponsible actions and discrimination. • Provide the environment for children to freely express and evaluate the medical Child’s Education, Development and Equal participation • Establish a mechanism for the public and parents to monitor the dormitory • Improve the state policy on children’s literature, textbooks and publishing and this must be included in the state and local budgets. • Invest in school library development and improve the publishing quality of • Evaluation of school achievements should be based on children, parents and • To empower children with information about their rights on the international and national level the secondary schools should have an official hour for Child rights. NGOs can cooperate on the improvement of the free-topic hour in schools by providing useful and first hand information for children. • The state should reconsider and make changes in their requirements and indicators of school success and achievements. • The state must focus their attention on the implementation of the law concerning rights of disabled people when deciding the city and countryside infrastructure issues, and make it as one basic standard for new constructions. • When deciding the pressing issues concerning children, the state should ensure the active participation and involvement of schools, parents, other organizations, citizens and children. Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia • Provide trainings for teachers on child centered methodology, implement learning activities ensuring the active participation of children, and provide child friendly environments in all secondary schools. • Rehabilitate old and open new public entertainment places for children. • Develop the national policy on the provision of rehabilitation and protection services for abused children, and implement it in a manner that addresses the complexity of the issue. Open a special center for abused children. • Establish an information and research network to unite all the related facts and • Prepare child psychologists on the national level. Cooperate with childrens NGOs. • Secondary schools, NGOs and Traffic Police together should organize regular trainings for children on road safety. The state must take actions to fully protect the child’s environment for study, play and living. • Implement training programs for imprisoned children to help them to socialize • Provide training for the child prison personnel on child rights, psychology and • The state should open the social worker vacancy in children’s prisons and provide • Change on all levels of the society the wide spread negative attitude towards • Develop and implement programs on the improvement of social security issues of children working in dangerous conditions • Police and social security organizations should do research and open records on • Provide working children with knowledge about the child labor law, work contracts and assign consultants and advocates to protect their rights. • Ensure the saftery of children working in conditions dangerous to life, and ensure • Government should increase the child participation in the future government reports on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child • The law enforcing agencies should pay special attention to the child allowance payment and make changes in it’s implementation methods. • Promote the Mongolian traditions and customs which value and protect children and ensure the inheritance of these traditions by younger generation. • Look for possibilities to reflect conditions in working contracts in order to provide environment for families to live and work together • Prepare boys and girls for their future responsibilities as parents and ensure the participation of boys who are left out of these kind of trainings Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia • The state should address the gender equality in education and pay attention to the dropout rate of boys in secondary and higher education • Solve problems in all their complexity and stop chasing only after statistic results Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia 7. Appendixes


7.1 Appendix A.

NGOs and working group members contributed to the alternative report on the
implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
D. Ayush Independent researcher S. Narantuya National Coalition of NGOs for the Rights of the Child and Mongolian Child Rights Center Enkhtsesteg Association of Parents with Disabled S. Baigalmaa Agency for Prevention and Protection of Children against Abuse and Neglect Ts. Odgerel Consultants
Volunteers
Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia
7.2 Appendix B

National Coalition of NGO’s
1. Mongolian Child Rights Center 2. National Center Against Violence 3. Mongolian Red Cross Association 4. Mongolian Scouts Association 5. Mongolian Youth Association 6. “Gal Golomt” National Movement for the Social Well-Being 7. Mongolian Advocate’s Association 8. Mongolian Women’s Association 9. Mongolian Social Worker’s Association 10. Mongolian Development Center 11. National Association of Mongolian Societies of Consumer Rights Protection 12. Mongolian Volunteer’s Society 13. Mongolian Society of World Women for Peace 14. Mongolian Society of Elder’s 15. Mongolian Association Supporting the Rural Child Development 16. Family Consultation Center 17. Mongolian Institute of Child Study 18. ‘Oulun Eej’ Center 19. Mongolian Adolescence Association 20. “Youth and Future” Center 21. Mongolian Women Lawyers’ Association 22. Gender Center for the Equal Development 23. Mongolian Society of International Summer Campuses 24. Center of Mongolian Child’s Music and Songs 25. ‘Tanin medehkui’ Center of Mongolian Children and Youth Travel 26. “Labor” Foundation 27. “Nar’ Journal 28. Talant-21 Foundation 29. World Peace Family Association 30. ‘Kristina Nobel’ Foundation 31. Mongolian Association of Good Will Women 32. ‘Khand’ Foundation Supporting the Education 33. Mongolian Association High School Children Development 34. ‘Damost’ Training Center 35. ‘Kuikushyzan’ Development Foundation 36. Mongolian Child and Youth Right Center 37. Mongolian Association of Child Development and Protection Support 38. ‘Khan-Uul’ Aimag’s Teachers Association 39. Child Development Project 40. ‘Oyun Tulkhuur’ Foundation Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia 41. National Center Against Drugs 42. Women Association of Military Organizations 43. Women Business Center 44. ‘Burte-Uujin’ Center 45. ‘Khaluun Bolor’ Child Center 46. MIDA 47. Mongolian Association of Protection of the Rights of Children with Hearing, 48. Agency for Prevention and Protection of Children against Abuse and Neglect 49. ‘Khudulgeen-Uvidas’ Health Center 50. Child Development Center 51. School Social Workers Society 52. Women Scouts Association 53. ‘Zolzaya’ Foundation Supporting the Mongolian Talented Children 54. ‘Tugelder’ Center for Children and Youth with Movement Disabilities 55. ‘Erdmiin Dalai’ Children Center 56. ‘Nar’ Association 57. Mongolian Children Basketball Association 58. ‘Maugli’ Center for Child Development 59. Center of Gender Equality 60. Association of Parents with a Disabled Children 61. ‘Khongor’ Society for Orphan Children 62. ‘Eren Ue’ Development Center 63. Mongolian National Association of Children Toys 64. ‘Bolomj’ Center Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia 8. Resources

1. “Child, Development-2000” Research. National Report. National Statistic 2. Mongolian Educational Sector Development 80 Years. Mongolian Ministry of Education and Science. Ulaanbaatar, 2001 3. Mongolian Adolescence’s Needs Research Report. Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, UNICEF, Mongolian Scouts Association. Ulaanbaatar, 2000 4. Food and Nutrition Status of Mongolian Population.2000, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, UNICEF. Ulaanbaatar, 2002 5. ‘School Children’s Daily Diet’ Recommendation. Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Food Study Center. Ulaanbaatar, 1997 6. National Report on the Implementation of Objectives from the World High Rank Meeting for the Child-Speech. Mongolia, 2000 7. Acute Poison Causes of Drug and Chemicals. N. Tsogzolmaa, Kh. Tsengelmaa, T. Batkhuyag. Drug Information. Drug Information Center. Ulaanbaatar, 2003 8. Law Bulletin in Drugs, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, WHO. 9. ‘Child Friendly School’ Assessment Report (1999-2000) Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, UNICEF. Ulaanbaatar, 2003 10. ‘Child Friendly School’ Assessment Report (1999-2000) Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, UNICEF. Ulaanbaatar, 2003 11. ‘Lets Stop Teachers Hidden Businesses’ N. Bayanbat ‘School Social Workers Practice Journal’ No.003/002. Ulaanbaatar, 2002 12. Research report on the activities outside the school environment. N. Mira 13. Joint order of the Ministers of Education and Health and Social Welfare. 14. Human Rights condition. Report, page 126. National Committee of the Human 15. “Child’s pressing health issues”. E. Luvsandagva, J. Orosoo, N. Jargalsaihan, 16. During the research on the disabled children in 1999 Bayan Olgii aimag sent a note that they do not have any disabled children. / Save the Children, UK, 1999/ 17. Knowledge, awareness and attitude towards the child’s upbringing and violence. Research.2001. NCAV, Save the Children, UK. Ulaanbaatar 2002. 18. “Violence against children in Mongolia”, C. Baigalmaa, D. Gereltsetseg and 19. Mongolian Adolescence’s Needs Research Report. Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, UNICEF, Mongolian Scouts Association. Ulaanbaatar, 2000 20. “ Violence against women and legal framework in Mongolia” Center for Human Rights and Development, NCAV, National CEDAW Watch Network Center. UNIFEM. 2002 21. “ Child Prostitution, tendency” research evaluation, recommendation. 22. “Child crime, conditions, reasons” research. NCAV, Central Police, Save the Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia 23. “Child abuses another child”, N. Bayanbat. “School social workers practice” magazine. Number03.02. Ulaanbaatar, 2002. 24. “Child crime, conditions, reasons” research. NCAV, Central Police, Save the 25. “ Children in conflict with law in Mongolia” UNICEF.2002 26. “The transitional document on the poverty elimination strategy”. World Bank. 27. “Building the future together with children”. Regional meeting of NGOs. Mongolian NGO’s report. Thailand 2001. 28. “Street Children in Mongolia”. UNICEF.2003 29. “The present state of the child labor during the market economy”. G. Batchimeg. Mongolian Center of the Rights of the Child, Save the Children, Norway. Ulaanbaatar, 2000. Alternative Report of the National Coalition of NGOs of the Rights of the Child of Mongolia

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