Mongolia: WHRD receives death threats ahead of press conferenceEvent
- Initial Date
- Oct 22, 2019
- Event Description
Ms Mungunkhun is an environmental and community-based WHRD who lives in TsagaanOvoo District, located in Mongolia’s easternmost Province of Dornod. She is member to a community of herders living in proximity to a mining site owned by Steppe Gold, a publicly-listed Mongolian mining company active in the exploration and extraction of precious metals. Ms Mungunkhun, together with around ten herders and few members of the Tsagaan-Ovoo community, have steadily opposed the mining operations in the area where they and their livestock live, as they deem that such activities would have negative impacts on their livelihoods and the environment.
On 21 August 2018, A group of herders living in Tsagaan-Ovoo District, including Ms Mungunkhun, was holding a protest against Steppe Gold company’s decision to fence an area of pasture land where they used to go with their livestock. Around ten security personnel from a security company hired by Steppe Gold company handcuffed and put to the ground Mr Tuvshinjargal, a herder and HRD who was taking part in the protest, while one security personnel sat on his head. Mr Tuvshinjargal was then beaten up by several other people, which caused his shoulder being fractured.4 When he screamed for help, one of the herders who was joining the protest managed to help him get into a car. The car was then stopped by the security personnel, who hit the window and the body of the car with a blunt object. Ultimately, the car managed to run away and secure Mr Tuvshinjargal in the local police station. After the incident, Mr Tuvshinjargal claimed that he received an anonymous call threatening him to face death if he did not stop what he is doing. While the attack was happening towards Mr Tuvshinjargal, Ms Mungunkhun recorded the incident with her mobile phone. As she was recording, she was grabbed by three security personnel and her mobile phone was snatched from her hand. She managed to retrieve her phone from the hand of the security person and to hide it under her brassiere, then she ran away. However, she was chased by the security personnel, who manhandled her, and then forcefully took away Ms Mungunkhun’s mobile phone from inside her brassiere and started to beat her. Then she was allegedly brought to the security post of Steppe Gold mining company, where Ms Mungunkhun estimated to have been detained for around five hours as a form of “punishment”. During her detention, she was allegedly sexually harassed by the security personnel in the pretext of “locating her mobile phone”, although they already had it in their possession. She was feeling scared and afraid to lose her life while being surrounded by muscular security personnel, and was insecure about calling out for help. Later when she was released, her mobile phone was eventually returned to her, but the video of the beating was deleted by the security personnel.
When this incident happened, Ms Mungunkhun had recently undergone an appendicitis surgery. The physical attack towards her damaged the stitches, and as a result, after the incident she needed to go back hospital to do re-stitching. It is worth to mention that the local doctor refused to issue a medical certificates to the WHRD and the other victims of the attacks for the injures they suffered. The doctor also refused to issue a medical certificate for Ms Mungunkhun’s re-stitching.
On 22 October 2019, Ms Mungunkhun was invited to the press conference held in Ulaanbaatar to launch the report 'Our Land’, released by FORUM-ASIA and CHRD, exposing the results of the fact-finding mission conducted month before, and including the incident affecting Ms Mungunkhun. During the event, the WHRD reported that a person named Unuruu from Steppe Gold just called her and sent her phone text messages saying that “if you want to stand against the mining, protest against it, you should have a very brave heart and have someone behind you to get protection. Otherwise it seems it’s easy to lose your life”. The WHRD added also that she has faced threats and humiliation from Steppe Gold for months.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Death threat
- Intimidation and Threats
- Rights Concerned
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Community-based HRD
- Suspected non-state
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 22 October 2019, Ms. Mungunkhun Dulmaa, community-based WHRD, received death threats via phne call the day she joined a press conference to share the physical assault she faced the year before when protesting against a mining site in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia.