Mongolia needs regulation to assess environmental damages
20 December 2007 7:00 pm
Courts and prosecutor offices in Mongolia have abandoned many cases of environmental destruction and pollution due to the absence of regulations to assess environmental damages. FORUM-ASIA urges the new Minister of Environment of to establish such regulations.
His Excellency G. Shiilegdamba
The Minister of Environment
The Asian Forum for Human Rights Development (FORUM-ASIA) congratulates you on your appointment as Mongolia’s Minister of Environment. We also welcome your pledge to immediately tackle the issue of environmental degradation and pollution due to irresponsible business activities.
We would like to bring your attention to the weak implementation of the environmental laws, absence of rules and regulations for calculating damages and bringing the perpetrators of crimes against the environment to justice. In the past two years, many environmental cases that were investigated by the police were rejected by courts or prosecutors because of an absence of specific regulations in the country that could assess environmental damage. Hence the perpetrators of crimes against the environment were not brought to justice and victims were neither compensated nor rehabilitated.
For instance, on 12 November 2007, the criminal case regarding the Mongol Gazar Co.Ltd was rejected by the Prosecutor’s Office of the Ulaanbaatar City as the Prosecutor could not find proper regulations to substantiate the assessment of the damages. The Mongol Gazar Co. Ltd mined 61.9 hectares of land in Bayandun soum of the Dornod province in 2003 and abandoned the location in the same year without conducting any rehabilitation measures.
Ikh Huvchiin Jonon Co. Ltd and Erel Co. Ltd also failed to protect the land from environmental degradation and rehabilitate the victims. But in both cases, the Court and the Prosecutor refused to press charges as there are no specific regulations. It is pertinent to note that many of the victims of environmental pollution and destruction have not received compensation.
The victims of environmental pollution caused by the hazardous chemicals in Khongor soum of the Darkhan-Uul province in Mongolia are also left without remedy or redress. It is reported that in 2007 alone 6,000 people were affected by cyanide and mercury emitted from mining activities.
Articles 7 and 15 of the Environmental Protection Act require the Ministry of Environment to develop regulations to account for environmental damage. We would like to remind you about the pledge of your ministry in 2005 to develop such regulations, which have not yet been fulfilled.
Mongolia is party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and hence is bound to ensure the right to a healthy environment. We also would like to remind you about the principles of sustainable development and environmental protection embodied in the United Nation’s Declaration on Environment and Development (Rio Declaration 1992).
We strongly urge the Ministry of Environment to formulate necessary regulations and strengthen the legal system to account for the environmental degradation and protect the environment and right to health of the people of Mongolia.