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25 November 2021


Dear people of Mongolia,


Every year, people across the globe come together to show solidarity and accelerate the fight to end gender-based violence (GBV) through the 16 Days of Activism Against GBV campaign. This global movement has been a catalyst for the important work of raising awareness about the reality of GBV and the resources available for survivors, majority of whom are women and girls, and communities to combat it, as well as of engaging the public toward ending the discriminatory gender norms and stereotypes that underlie the violence.


The global campaign, which marks its 30th anniversary this year, starts on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November and runs up to Human Rights Day on 10 December. Mongolia has been actively engaged in the 16 Days Campaign since 1997, and as a result, significant gains have been made in raising the public awareness and understanding of GBV, as well as in spurring action at all levels to end GBV, especially against women and girls.


According to the 2018 National GBV Survey, 1 in every 2 Mongolian women have experienced GBV perpetrated by an intimate partner at least once in their lives, while 1 in every 3 have experience the violence at least once in the last 12 months. On the other hand, 17.3% and 14% of women have experienced non-partner physical and sexual violence, respectively, and these acts are most commonly perpetrated by a family member. Moreover, according to NHRCM, women and young people are at much higher risk of physical, mental and sexual violence and harassment at work. According to its study in 2021, 78% of the total respondents or among 3,000 civil servants, lacked information related with preventing and addressing sexual harassment, and one fourth of them reported that they were harassed at least one time in a form of violence and harassment.

The National GBV Survey study also revealed the pervasiveness of harmful gender norms and beliefs and the culture of silence that surrounds GBV, especially among survivors themselves – at least 1 in every 3 survivors of physical and sexual violence believes that a man is justified in hitting his partner under certain circumstances. The 2020 study on the Public’s Knowledge and Attitudes Toward GBV also found that 20.6% of Mongolians believe that women themselves are to be blamed for GBV, while 26.3% believe that tolerating the violence can protect the family. These figures show that while Mongolia has made great progress toward protecting survivors and holding perpetrators accountable, there is an urgent need to address these harmful beliefs that are at the root of GBV in order to achieve the transformational change of ending GBV and harmful practices against women and girls.

The important work of GBV prevention and response has become even more urgent as the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. In Mongolia and all over the globe, significant spikes in domestic violence cases have been recorded at the onset of the pandemic. Socio-economic pressures faced by individuals and families, such as the loss of employment, school closures, and food insecurity, put significant strains on relationships that would escalate to violence. Quarantines, isolations, and community lockdowns have also negatively impacted mental health, increasing the risk of problematic coping behaviors, while also trapping survivors with their perpetrators at home.

Limited physical mobility have also hindered survivors, survivors, mainly women and girls, from accessing essential support, while shelters and other service centers struggled to support survivors amidst the uncertainty, increased health risks, and reduced resources.

The rising number of criminal cases of domestic violence, which include severe cases and repeated offenses, has increased for the first time since 2017, which shows the direct impact that the pandemic has caused on the GBV situation in the country. On the other hand, the number of misconduct cases – minor acts and first time offenses – of domestic violence reported to the police decreased for the first time since 2017 during the height of the restrictive measures to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks. This suggests that unless the situation is dire, survivors of violence are unable to seek help.

GBV is still widely yet wrongfully perceived as a private matter, so consequently, it is the least reported human rights abuse in the world. GBV is deeply-rooted in and justified by social norms that perpetuate toxic masculinity, male power and control, and the subordination of women, girls, and other genders. It hinders people from reaching their full potential in the social, political and economic spheres, and restricts the creation of a society anchored in respect for human rights, gender equality, and human dignity.

The UN agencies welcome the significant progress that Mongolia has made on legislative framework of labour relations as well as protection of fundamental labour rights by adopting the new Labour Law in July 2021. This new law has a number of champion provisions including prevention and prohibition of harassment and violence at workplaces. Nonetheless, knowledge and attitudes of employers and workers including civil servants towards sexual harassment need to be improved, and violence and harassment at work take place frequently. Moreover, the United Nations welcomes the Government’s commitment to the ILO Convention No.190 concerning violence and harassment at workplace, the first international treaty to recognize the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment.

This year’s 16 Days Campaign theme in Mongolia reminds us all that “GBV matters to everyone”. GBV is everyone’s business. To not call out and stand up against GBV in any and all forms, even in the most minor of occurrences, is to silently consent to the perpetration of violence and to the perpetuation of harmful gender norms that underlie it.  the public is perceived to be silently consenting to the violence and to the perpetuation of harmful gender norms. No one should be bystander in this important fight; everyone has the responsibility to take action to end GBV.

Ending GBV is an important but huge undertaking that can only be achieved if people and organizations across sectors come together and work toward this common goal. That is why UN agencies, government agencies, development partners, civil society and the private sector have joined together in solidarity to collectively support the powerful theme of this year’s 16 Days Campaign in Mongolia. For this year’s campaign, a focus on engaging men and boys to highlight the key role that they play in GBV prevention and provide them with the tools to contribute to this important cause.

The United Nations in Mongolia remains committed to ending gender-based violence, in particular violence against women, girls and minors, and promoting gender equality in the country, as articulated in the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and as committed to by Mongolia in the Nairobi Summit for the 25th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development as well as the Beijing+25 Conference on the 25th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women.


We encourage everyone, to recognize their role in ending GBV and reiterate their commitment to helping create a violence-free society where the rights of every person are respected and protected by all.