Third UN vote raises more hope for the abolition of the death penalty in Mongolia
By Altantuya Batdorj, Director of Amnesty International Mongolia
Myself and many others in Mongolia were delighted with the news that the UN General Assembly adopted, with increased support, the third resolution calling for a moratorium on executions on 21 December.
Because Mongolia voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2007 and 2008, AI Mongolia had been anxiously following the debate at the UN General Assembly that led to the adoption of the 2010 resolution.
This year, for the first time, our country voted in favour of a worldwide moratorium on executions. This change in the vote shows just how far Mongolia has come in a short period of time.
2010 has definitely been a significant year for the anti-death penalty movement in Mongolia. This is largely due to the strong leadership and commitment to this cause shown by President Ts. Elbegdorj. When he announced an official moratorium on executions, our President sent a strong message not only within Mongolia but throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
In addition to this, The State Great Khural, our Parliament, is now considering ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at abolition of the death penalty.
Ratification will herald a new era in Mongolia by putting an end to state sponsored killings once and for all. AI Mongolia has played its part by raising public awareness about the death penalty and calling on parliamentary members to support its abolition. Amnesty International members from all over the world have also been writing letters of support to Mongolian parliamentary members.
The UN buildings in New York are a very long way away from Ulaanbaatar, and at first sight the resolution may sound more like a diplomatic tool that does not hold much relevance to the people of Mongolia. But the reality is quite different. The resolutions in 2007 and 2008 calling for a global moratorium on the death penalty were a strong message from the community of states to retentionist countries around the world.
For AI Mongolia, which has been working hard for abolition of the death penalty, it is clear that we would not be where we are today without the voice of the international community supporting our calls for abolition. The outcomes have been enormous. A shift has taken place in the attitudes of our leaders- so much so that we even have a
bill in the Parliament which will mean the end of state sponsored executions.
For these reasons I am optimistic. I also hope that our progress will give encouragement to others, especially in the Asia Pacific region where so many countries still retain the death penalty.
AI Mongolia is looking forward to the day when our country will join the majority of the world’s nations and abolish the death penalty – perhaps that day is not very far away…