Global Civil Society Organisations Call for Release of Mongolian Environmental Defender Beejin Khastumur

Civil society organisations from around the world have come together to call for the permanent release of environmental and human rights defender Beejin Khastumur who faces 5-years in prison for an offence there is no evidence he committed. Beejin is the founder of DMNN, a Mongolian NGO and YLNM member group that has exposed the destruction and corruption caused by illegal mining operations in Mongolia. We stand in solidarity with Beejin.

 

5th April 2016

For the attention of:
  • Hon. Tsogtzandan Yondon, Chief judge of the Criminal court of Bayangol, Khan-Uul and Songinokhairkhan Districts.
  • Prosecutor Ms Enerel of the The State General Prosecutor’s Office
  • Detective Lkhamsuren of The State General Police Office:

beejin_khastumur

Honourable Representatives,

It has come to our attention that human rights and environmental defender Mr Beejin Khastumur, founder of Mongolian non-profit organisation Delhiin Mongol Nogoon Negdel (DMNN), has been arrested and charged by the Mongolian authorities. Despite Mr Khastumur’s recent and temporary release from prison on medical grounds, it is our understanding that he still faces up to 5-years in prison.

DMNN, an organisation that advocates for the protection of the environment and the rights of the nomad people of Mongolia, has exposed many violations of Mongolia’s environmental laws by foreign and domestic mining companies. The group has also organised numerous workshops, public gatherings and demonstrations to educate the public on environmental issues.

Mr Khastumur’s national and international colleagues strongly believe that he has in fact been unfairly imprisoned as a result of his work to expose the illegal mining operations of foreign and domestic companies in Mongolia. Even before his arrest, Mr Khastumur had suffered consistent intimidation and threats since staging a sit-in protest in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator on 21-23rd January 2016 to oppose an allegedly illegal permit given to a Canadian-Mongolian mining venture for gold mining operations on the Onon River.

On the 10th March 2016, Mr Khastumur was charged by the Mongolian police under Article 181.3 of the Criminal Code of Mongolia, which corresponds with ‘a crime committed using a weapon or by a violent criminal’.

Mr Khastumur’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment relate to an incident that occurred on February 6th 2016. After a minor road traffic accident on Peace Avenue in Ulan Bator, the driver of a car that had collided with Mr Khastumur’s physically assaulted him. After the altercation, a traffic policeman stopped at the scene, establishing that Mr Khastumur had not been at fault for the crash. After the officer had left once more, the man who attacked Mr Khastumur called the police, claiming that Mr Khastumur had stabbed him with a knife during the argument at the accident scene.

In an attempt to prove that he was not in possession of a knife, Mr. Khastumur repeatedly requested that the police officer who arrived at the accident scene to search his body and vehicle. His requests were ignored.

After being taken to the 1st precinct of Songinokhairkhan District Police Department and assigned a detective, Mr Khastumur once again asked for a full search to be conducted. His request was denied once again. Mr Khastumur made this same request the next morning after reporting back to the police station to give further evidence, but again it was denied.

A forensic examination of both Mr Khastumur and his accuser conducted the next morning found Beejin to be suffering from bruises to his legs and chest, as well as a brain concussion. His accuser had suffered a small scratch above his knee, which he claims Beejin inflicted with a knife that was not searched for or found.

The subsequent decision by authorities to detain Mr Khastumur in absence of any evidence of wrongdoing was motivated by his alleged failure to report for questioning over the incident at the Songinokhairkhan District Police Department. Mr. Khastumur did in fact present himself at the station on several occasions when called, however, DMNN report that the detective assigned to his case was not there at those times and was not reachable by phone.

On March 16th 2016 Mr Khastumur was incarcerated in Gants Khudag temporary detention centre. The other individual involved in the incident, who has previously been imprisoned under Article 181.3, was not charged with any offence.

On 22 March 2016, the Criminal Court of Bayangol, Khan-Uul and Songinokhairkhan Districts rejected the complaint of human rights defender Mr Khastamur against the decision to detain him for interrogation at the Gants Khudag temporary detention center. During the hearing the counsel insisted that the interrogation of Mr. Khastumur could take place while he was at liberty and that there were no grounds to keep him in detention. Since being taken into custody, Beejin Khastamur has not been interrogated, despite Mongolian law stating that he must be questioned at least once before his custody term ends.

On the same date, four men dressed in black attempted to enter Mr Khastumur’s house, claiming to be officers from the Khan Uul district police. They banged on the door and when Mr Khastumur’s wife answered they informed her that they wished to conduct a search of the house. No identifying documents were provided by the men and they left when Mrs Khastumur said that she would call the police.

This is not the first time Mr Khastumur and his family have been harassed. On several occasions people have banged on his door at night, cut his electricity, slashed his car tires and threatened his wife and children. He has also received death threats by phone.

In light of this intimidation and based on the facts and information provided by DMNN and Mr Khastumur’s attorney, the signatories to this letter are concerned that the detention of Mr Beejin Khastamur, and the attack and charges against him, may be linked to his legitimate and peaceful activities in the defence of environmental rights and rights of nomad people in Mongolia.

We are aware that the Mongolian Authorities have now temporarily released Mr Khastumur to receive medical treatment, a decision we applaud, but remain concerned that Mr Khastumur could be imprisoned again when he has recovered from his physical ailments.

We therefore urge the authorities in Mongolia to:

1. To unconditionally release Beejin Khastamur and drop all charges against him, as we believe that he has been targeted solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;

2. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the attack on Beejin Khastamur, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

3. Provide the necessary medical treatment for injured human rights defender Beejin Khastamur;

4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Mongolia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Signed,

Valarie George
Director of Agriculture
Network of Rural Women Producers, Trinidad and Tobago

Ricardo Navarro
President of CESTA – Friends of the Earth El Salvador Goldman Prize recipient 1995

Jesus Garzon, President, A. Trashumancia y Naturaleza, Spain

Linda Sheehan, Earth Law Centre, USA

Ciprian Diaconita, Environmental and Social Change, UK

Desmond D’Sa
SDCEA Coordinator, South Africa Goldman Prize recipient 2014

Jackie Sunde
University of Cape Town South Africa

Yolanda R. Esguerra
National Coordinator
Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI)

Darren J. Daley,
Managing Director
Global Association for People and the Environment

Odey Oyama
Executive Director
Rainforest Resource and Development Centre (RRDC).

Kenneth Nana Amoateng Executive director
Abibimman Foundation, Ghana

Mr. Jorge Varela
Manager of Environment, Development and Training (ADC), Honduras Goldman Prize recipient 1999

Catherine Coumans, Ph.D.
Research Co-ordinator and Asia-Pacific Program Coordinator MiningWatch Canada

Rick Steiner, Professor and Conservation Biologist, Oasis Earth Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Oscar Chan Dzul
President
Interdisciplinary Centre for Research and Alternative Development, Mexico

Emily Caruso
Regional Programmes Director Global Diversity Foundation

Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend Global Coordinator
ICCA Consortium

Hanne Cottyn
Volunteer and post-doctoral researcher CATAPA, Belgium

Motalib Kemil
President
Coalition Against Land Grabbing, Palawan, Philippines

John Mart Salunday, President, NATRIPAL, United Tribes of the Philippines

Ernesto Dasgsalio,  President, Batak Federation

Lorenzo Minchella
Vice President
APAC, The Alliance of Pastoralists of Aurunci and Ciociaria, Italy

Linda Sheehan, Executive Director, Earth Law Center

Darcey O’Callaghan, International Policy Director, Food and Water Watch USA

Hannibal Rhoades
Communications and Advocacy Officer The Gaia Foundation

Juliana Thornton
Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa Yes to Life, No to Mining Network

Mariana Gomez
Regional Coordinator for Latin America Yes to Life, No to Mining Network

Tero Mustonen
Regional Coordinator for the Eurasian Arctic Yes to Life, No to Mining Network

Guadalupe Rodriguez
Regional Coordinator for Europe and Latin America Yes to Life, No to Mining Network

Michelle Maloney
Regional Coordinator for Australia Yes to Life, No to Mining Network

The signatories to this letter respectfully remind you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6: “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters”, Article 5: “For the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels: (a) To meet or assemble peacefully” and to Article 12 (2): “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”

Related Posts

The Philippines, a nation rich in precious metals, encounters powerful opposition to mining
Philippines bans new open-pit metal mines
In Indonesia, women farmers crush cement mining and production factories
Resistance, exchange, (post)extractivism: YLNM Coordinators meet in Galicia- in photos
Safeguarding People and the Environment in Chinese Investments- A guide for community advocactes
To change a BIT is not enough
Philippines: Green group calls for immediate enforcement of suspension, closure orders on 26 large-scale mines
VICTORY! OceanaGold loses ISDS claim against El Salvador
Philippines: Indigenous Peoples Rally in Support of El Salvador against Oceana Gold
Interview with freed environmental defender Beejin Khastumur
Beejin Khastumur: Environmental defender’s trial saga continues
All that Glitters is Not Gold: Resisting Mining Plunder in The Philippines
REVIVING RIVER MYNTDU, REVIVING A LOST CULTURE
Take Action: A Fair Trial for Environmental Defender Beejin Khastumur
Victory! Oceana Gold Pulls Out Drilling Operation after people’s barricade
Save Dory’s home from toxic mine waste!

Save Dory’s home from toxic mine waste!

  • Written on: 17 June 2016
  • Posted under: Campaigns
300 Tibetans protest gold mining at a sacred mountain in Tibet
Outcry as Adivasi activist Gladson Dungdung is prevented from traveling to the UK
Open Letter: Adivasi rights activist Gladson Dungdung prevented from boarding a Delhi-London Air India Flight
Good news for the only place on Earth where tigers, rhinos, orangutans and elephants live together
Filipino environmentalists join global protests to demand justice for Honduran activist Berta Caceres
Nueva Vizcaya stops entry of mining firms

Nueva Vizcaya stops entry of mining firms

Global Civil Society Organisations Call for Release of Mongolian Environmental Defender Beejin Khastumur
Urgent Action: Call for the release of imprisoned Mongolian environmental defender
Leader of NGO Opposing Illegal Mining in Mongolia Arrested
Bayto, the village that stood up to mining

Bayto, the village that stood up to mining

Shan civil society groups call for gold mining suspension
India: Tribe set to resume David & Goliath battle with mining corporation
Burying the Law to Make Way for a Coal Mine

Burying the Law to Make Way for a Coal Mine

The Coconut Revolution: Resisting Rio Tinto’s Panguna Mine

The Coconut Revolution: Resisting Rio Tinto’s Panguna Mine

  • Written on: 19 February 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
Adivasis’ Last Stand: The New Battleground Against Mining is Khandadhar
Voices of Indigenous Women Human Rights Defenders from the Philippines
Philippines: Indigenous Peoples Seeking Lepanto Mine Closure
Mongolia: YLNM members DMNN suffer threats and assault for investigating illegal mining
Balok Sea Turns Red from Bauxite Mining

Balok Sea Turns Red from Bauxite Mining

  • Written on: 06 January 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
Villagers in Myanmar retake land from mining company
Mongolia: Demonstrators stage sit in to demand an end to illegal mining
At COP21, the people and future generations will be failed once again
LAKBAYAN 6: RESIST IMPERIALIST PLUNDER, STOP LUMAD KILLINGS!

LAKBAYAN 6: RESIST IMPERIALIST PLUNDER, STOP LUMAD KILLINGS!

  • Written on: 17 December 2015
  • Posted under: Campaigns
Climate Change and Coal Mining in India

Climate Change and Coal Mining in India

Protesters demand Aquino government close mines linked to paramilitaries
Inside the indigenous movement to protect India’s commons
No Response, No Accountability for Tenasserim Coal Mine Damage
YLNM Coordinator ‘Enteng’ Bautista tailed and harassed by suspected military agents
Coal, Which Built a Chinese City, Now Threatens to Bury It
Indonesia: Farmer Anti-mining Activist killed in Selok Awar-Awar
Heed the Costs of Gold Mining

Heed the Costs of Gold Mining

Philippines: Environmental groups and communities protest Mining Philippines 2015 Conference
#StopLumadKillings | Philippine Groups protest mining conference
Addressing Lumad killings, mining abuse & internally displaced people
India’s Coal Rush

India’s Coal Rush

  • Written on: 09 September 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Our Resistance, Our Hope: Unity Statement of the International People’s Conference on Mining
Lianga Massacre: Lumad leaders killed in Philippine ‘mining capital’
Photo Story: Communities tell OceanaGold to abandon Didipio mine
Bangladesh Government says NO to Phulbari Coal Mine
How radio protects community forest land- Cambodia

How radio protects community forest land- Cambodia

  • Written on: 21 August 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Against Letpadaung: copper mining in Myanmar and the struggle for human rights
Achievements of the Global Day Against Mega Mining
Philippines: Environmentalists hold protest-dialogue to reject multinational mining in Lobo
Greenpeace, villagers fight to keep coal mining from ‘life-giving’ Mahan forest in India’s energy capital
Villagers oppose laterite mining on Koraput hill
Mapping Gender Based Violence and Mining Infrastructure in Mongolian Mining Communities
Soil mining continues unabated on Palora Hill
People’s Victory – Environmentalists hail exit of mining giant in Tampakan
The Horrors of Rat Hole Coal Mining

The Horrors of Rat Hole Coal Mining

  • Written on: 24 June 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
The Bloody Illegal World of Sand Mining

The Bloody Illegal World of Sand Mining

  • Written on: 22 June 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Mining Affected Peoples to Unite at International Peoples Conference on Mining, Manila 2015
Glencore? No More! London protestors call for end to Glencore’s mining abuses in the Philippines and worldwide
Palawan Brooke’s Point Pastor

Palawan Brooke’s Point Pastor

  • Written on: 08 April 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Philippines: Palawan Indigenous Group calls on Citinickel to stop all mining operations
‘We will never give our land’. In India millions protest removal of the need for local consent in land acquisition for mining.
Philippines – 20 years of mining plunder, pollution and destruction must end.
Hunger Strike and Protest: Mongolian Government Gives Green Light to Hundreds of Mining Projects
CONDEMNED: Russian Coal Mining and Shor Displacements

CONDEMNED: Russian Coal Mining and Shor Displacements

  • Written on: 05 February 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
At a Glance: The Philippine Mining Situation
Alyansa Tigil Mina: Mining in the Philippines

Alyansa Tigil Mina: Mining in the Philippines

  • Written on: 10 December 2014
  • Posted under: Campaigns
Coal Mines Polluting South Kalimantan’s Water
Vedanta & Niyamgiri: Supporting Evidence
Mining in India: Films

Mining in India: Films

Mining in India: Reports

Mining in India: Reports

Greenpeace: Coal in India

Greenpeace: Coal in India

The God of the Mountain: Vedanta’s Assault on Niyamgiri

Start a Conversation. Share Words of Solidarity.

This website is about building a movement. We can only build a movement when we connect with one another. We invite you to do just that…

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *