Mongolia is a small country with pristine environment and nomadic traditions,
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” was drafted and promoted by representatives
of local communities severely affected by gold mining. The Law adopted in 2009 protects
25% of Mongolian natural ecosystems from destruction by mining, which are
essential safeguards as the country undergoes mining boom.
In summer 2013 the Government of Mongolia seduced by
corrupted officials has proposed to cancel the implementation of this law in
exchange for a promise from mining corporations to increase 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. 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 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, that gathered to change the Law, I brought our petition
to the Parliament House. 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.
Please, sign this petition to help Mongolian people to defend their land and to implement the Law
that protects rivers and forests from destruction by mining.
the founder of the United Movements for Mongolian Rivers and Lakes (UMMRL), 2007Goldman Environmental Prize winner.