© UNICEF Mongolia/2010
Protective Environment Diagram
Mongolia has undergone dramatic socio-economic and political transformation since the transition from a centrally planned system to a market economy in 1990s which has had long lasting impact on children’s lives. Notwithstanding this, major indicators such as child mortality and school enrolment continue to show positive trends depicting a strong commitment of the Government to basic social service delivery and social justice. However, at the midst of the transition in the mid-1990s, socio-economic disparity between regions and social groups began to widen, resulting in income disparity, large scale rural-urban migration, unemployment and poverty. This resulted in a number of ‘unintended’ consequences for children manifested in the form of increased school drop-outs, abandoned and street children, child labour, and commercial sexual exploitation of children and trafficking of young women. In the period since 1991, many efforts have been made to address child protection issue. The acknowledgment of child protection concerns by the government and authorities has helped to take actions, particularly on violence against children, women and child trafficking. Mongolia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1990 and adopted the National Law on the Protection of the Child Rights in 1996. Over the succeeding decade, Mongolia ratified other UN Conventions that apply to protection of children.
Mongolia is facing child protection issues such as child labor, children with development difficulties, children without caregivers: orphans, street children and children in care centers, sexual exploitation of children, trafficking of women and children, and child abuse, violence and crime: child victims and child perpetrators. Although, some progress was made in protecting the children, there remain some fundamental barriers to the development of appropriate child protection mechanisms and services for children. It is still difficult to obtain reliable data on child protection at national level, the capacity building of service providers and mechanisms to respond to abused and neglected children are not properly developed at the national level. Mainly the services to children are provided by NGOs. The national legislations need amendments to be consistent with international treaties and the monitoring of these legislations is crucial. Advocacy on the change of attitude and behaviour of the society and the community towards child protection issues needs to be undertaken. The data on child protection from governmental and non-governmental agencies are as follows:
- Data from NGOs and official sources estimate 1,186 children in care centres.
- The number of disabled children has increased slightly from 8,725 in 2000 to 8,811 in 2005.
- In 2004, 5,429 orphaned children were recorded compared to 4,312 in 2000.
- It is estimated that 10.1% (68,580) children nationwide are engaged in economic activities of which 65% are boys and nearly a fourth do not attend school.
- 65% of 1,871 children engaged in hazardous forms of child labour are boys who mainly work in the informal mining sector.
- Number of underage girls engaged in commercial sex increased by 82% from 38 in 2001 to 215 in 2005 while children in conflict with the law showed a 22% decline from 1,703 in 2002 to 1,332 in 2005.
Among the key recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of Child of Mongolia, the concern about non-compliance with the UN protocols on juvenile justice, the creation of a protective environment for children, addressing the needs and rights of disadvantaged and minority children, disaggregating data by gender and ethnicity and strengthening the capacities of national level institutions to monitor and coordinate children’s rights have been taken into consideration. In the country programme from 2007 to 2011, the Child protection programme is one of the key programmes that uses a systems approach and focuses on promoting the building of a protective environment for children. The main objective of child protection programme is to promote the building of a protective environment for children through capacity building and advocacy of policy makers and implementers. The specific objectives of the programme are:
-Build a comprehensive system and mechanism on protection of children from violence, abuse and neglect;
-Promote legal framework on child protection, particularly on violence, juvenile justice, commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children consistent with CRC and other international standards;
-Strengthen capacity building and service delivery system of government institutions and NGOs on child protection issues and
-Increase advocacy among policy makers, implementers and civil society on the concept of building a protective environment.
Child protection programme comprises of four projects: Data analyses and information; Advocacy and awareness; Legal and regulatory systems and Capacity Building and aims to achieve the following key results in 2007-2011:
• National database on child protection for programme planning, monitoring and advocacy institutionalized
• Policy makers, implementers and civil society subscribe to the concept of building a protective environment for children
• Legal and regulatory framework in place which conforms with international norms and standards and relevant UN protocols with special emphasis on reform of the juvenile justice system and prevention of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children and women
• Capacity of service providers on child-friendly methods developed.