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UN rights expert says torture, other abuses persist in Mongolia

UN rights expert says torture, other abuses persist in Mongolia

Manfred Nowak
Following a fact-finding mission in Mongolia, the United Nations expert says that despite recent efforts at legislative reform, torture and other abuses persist in the Central Asian country, particularly in police stations and pre-trial detention facilities.

Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur dealing with torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for the Geneva-based UN Commission on Human Rights, visited Mongolia from 6 to 9 June at the invitation of the Government.

In a statement issued yesterday, he applauded efforts aimed at eradicating torture and other abuses, but he noted that the deplorable conditions on death row and the lack of notification of families, among other things, amount to cruel treatment. He also he voiced concern about secrecy surrounding the application of the death penalty.

Mr. Nowak also noted that the treatment of prisoners serving 30-year terms in isolation is inhuman. However, the “ordinary” prison regime was found generally to be in line with international standards.

The Special Rapporteur issued preliminary recommendations to the Government, which included the criminalization of torture in accordance with the definition contained in article 1 of the Convention against Torture, and the imposition of appropriate penalties.

He recommended that the Government entrust the National Human Rights Commission with the task of carrying out preventive visits to all places of detention.

The Special Rapporteur expressed his appreciation to the Government, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the United Nations Country Team for their assistance in organizing the visit to Mongolia.

The report on Mr. Nowak’s visit to Mongolia will be presented at the sixty-second session of the Commission on Human Rights.