started this petition to
Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia, Zandaakhuu Enxbold, Chairman of the State Great Hural
Mongolia is a small country with pristine environment and traditional nomadic herding, which now faces rapid industrialization fueled by foreign investment in mineral extraction. The Law “To prohibit mineral exploration and mining operations at headwaters of rivers, water protection zones and forested areas” , known in the society as the Law with Long Name (LLN) was approved on 16 July 2009. The Law was drafted and promoted by representatives of local communities severely affected by gold mining. The Law protects 25% of Mongolian natural ecosystems from destruction by mining, which are essential safeguards as the country undergoes mining boom.
The Government of Mongolia seduced by corrupted officials has proposed in summer 2013 to cancel the implementation of this law in exchange for a promise from mining corporations to quadruple production of gold mined in riverbeds.
The Mongolian Parliament now has to decide whether to change the Implementation Guidance for this Law, and by doing so cancel protection of rivers and forest from irresponsible mining. This could immediately result in opening of more than 1300 sites to mining and prospecting operations and in drastic reduction in legally protected natural areas. But the Parliament also may decide that the Government has just to implement the Law as originally envisioned not weakening it. Mongolian people want no change to this Law, but effective protection measures to be in place, before all our rivers are destroyed by mining.
This summer our environmental movement submitted many requests to top officials of Mongolia to discuss proposed changes , but there was no reply from President, Parliament and Government. In the morning of 16 Sep 2013 before the Special session of Parliament, which was asked to change the Law, I brought our petition to Parliament Residence. To demonstrate that we are ready to protect our motherland from encroachment I carried a gun, but it was not loaded. No one got inquired and no property was damaged during that demonstration. Since then I and my friends are arrested and authorities want us to be sentenced for “threatening public stability” to serve many years in jail. Whatever is said by government-sponsored media our real goal is proper implementation of the Law that protects our rivers and forests from rampant mining. And the Law with Long Name still stays unchanged until today, but next few weeks are crucial to convince the Mongolian Parliament not to weaken the law and take measures to implement it properly.
Tsetegee Munkhbayar, founder of United Movements for Mongolian Rivers and Lakes, Goldman Environmental Prize winner, 2007