The Abolitionist of the Year Award

15 March 2017 :


To Tsakhia Elbegdorj

President of Mongolia

On 14 January 2010, President Tsakhia Elbegdorj announced a moratorium on the death penalty, a move that human rights groups welcomed as a step toward changing Mongolian law to ban executions permanently. “The majority of the world’s countries have chosen to abolish the death penalty. We should follow this path,” Elbegdorj said. “From tomorrow, I’ll pardon those on death row,” he said.

In his speech announcing the moratorium, President Tsakhia Elbegdorj noted that 2011 is the centenary of Mongolia’s restoration of independence and he called on Mongolians to mark the occasion by ensuring that no Mongolian citizen would be deprived of life at the hands of the State.

A bill to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, is currently awaiting a final vote in the State Great Khural (parliament). The bill has already been approved by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Legal Affairs and the Standing Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy.

On December 21, 2010, Mongolia voted for the first time in favour of the resolution on a worldwide moratorium on the use of the death penalty at the UN General Assembly. Mongolia had voted against such UN resolutions previously in 2007 and 2008.

Tsakhia Elbegdorj was one of the leaders of the peaceful democratic revolution in 1990 that ended more than 65 years of communist rule in the country. As a Member of Parliament, Elbegdorj co-drafted and co-adopted Mongolia’s new constitution which guaranteed human rights, freedom, democracy and market economy in the country.

In 2000 he founded the Mongolia’s Liberty Center, a non-governmental organization aimed at the pursuit and defense of civil and political rights, strengthening democracy in Mongolia, and supporting the rule of law. In 2009 Elbegdorj won the elections as candidate of the Democratic Party with 51,2% of votes and became the first President of Mongolia not being a member of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party.