Mongolia: First LGBT Advocacy NGO Registered and Recognized by Government

After three years of effort and at least ten attempts in 2009, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) human rights organization, the LGBT Centre, has been officially registered and recognized by Mongolia's Legal Entities Registration Agency (LERA). Located in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the Centre was previously denied registration because LERA declared that the name conflicted with "Mongolian customs and traditions and has the potential to set the wrong example for youth and adolescents."

The Centre will be the first NGO in Mongolia dedicated to social, legislative and institutional change in relation to discrimination, persecution, and abuse against Mongolia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

On June 17th, 2009, in response to requests from Mongolian LGBT activists, IGLHRC sent a letter to the Minister of Justice and Home Affairs of Mongolia, the State Secretary of Justice and Home Affairs of Mongolia the Director of Policy Implementation Coordination Department of Mongolia, and the Chief Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia explaining Mongolia's human rights obligations under international law to register LGBT human rights NGOs and asking that the LGBT Centre be allowed to register under that name. The combination of in-country LGBT activism and international pressure helped reverse the government's earlier resistance to the Centre. Another key reason for the reversal was the direct intervention with LERA by Oyungerel Tsedevdamba, advisor to the President of Mongolia on human rights and civil participation on behalf of the LGBT Centre.

The stated mission of the Mongolian LGBT Centre is to "uphold, protect, and promote the human rights of LGBT people and promote the correct understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity within Mongolian society."

In Mongolia there is widespread societal and institutional discrimination against, and intolerance of, lesbian and bisexual women and transgendered people. This discrimination is manifested in different forms including ostracism and harassment and physical and sexual violence. The discrimination is endemic in the public, private and non-governmental sectors and encompasses the police and the judiciary, health services, education, the housing sector and the media.

Find out more about LGBT human rights in Mongolia in the CEDAW Shadow Report submitted by a coalition of Mongolian LGBT Rights Activists in the 42nd Session of Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women in 2008.