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18 Nov 2022

UN Office of the High Commissioner for human rights

Mongolia: Government refuses to provide details about arrest of woman activist Sukgherel Dugersuren despite UN human rights experts' call

Mongolia: investigation into woman human rights defender & environmentalist, Sukgherel Dugersuren (joint communication)

18 November 2022


Topic: threat of arrest of woman human rights defender Ms. Sukgherel Dugersuren.

Ms. Sukgherel Dugersuren is a woman human rights defender and environmentalist. She is a member of an organisation which is accredited to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. She also supports an organisation which gathers together over 30 environmental NGOs and experts from Russia, Mongolia, the US and China, dedicated to preserving the health of transboundary river basins in north-east Eurasia through joint advocacy and promoting best practices in river management. [...]

Concerning Ms. Sukgherel Dugersuren

On 2 August 2022, Ms. Sukgherel Dugersuren was formally notified by the Government Investigation Agency that she was being placed under investigation on suspicion of violating Article 19.4 of the Criminal Code, namely, “Illegal cooperation with [a] foreign intelligence agency [or] agent”.

In the following days, Ms. Sukgherel Dugersurenwas subjected to a vilification campaign online which labelled her a ‘traitor’ and a ‘Russian spy’. Such smears came in response to a post made on social media by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders wherein she expressed her concern about the risk of arrest to Ms. Sukgherel Dugersuren.

On 3 August 2022, the Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs of Mongolia, H. Nyambaatar stated at a press conference that the Government had taken the decision to establish a task force to investigate anyone “intentionally disrupting Mongolia’s strategic development projects” and that “actions that are interrupted by a civil society organization or a person in the name of the community” should be investigated for sabotage (article 19.6 of the Criminal Code).


In the communication we expressed our serious concern regarding the alleged investigation into, and harassment of, Ms. Sukgherel Dugersuren. We are further concerned by the decision of the Mongolian Government to potentially criminalise peaceful protest and expression by stating it will investigate people ‘interfering’ with development projects on ‘sabotage’ charges. [...]