Mongolia: ongoing needs for protection for children
The collapse of the socialist regime in the` early 1990s resulted in rapid impoverishment of the majority of the population due to high inflation, loss of jobs and income. Consequently, there has been sharp increase in unemployment, alcoholism, family dysfunction and destruction of mutual support networks. These factors have contributed to children experiencing hardship including being subjected to abuse, violence and neglect, dropping out of school, leaving home, and/or living and working on the street to support their families.
The main child rights issue facing children in Mongolia is child maltreatment including violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. In 1998, it was estimated that one in every two children experiences violence. A lack of a clear legal framework and national strategy, coordinated mechanisms, trained workforce and adequate resources to respond to child protection issues exacerbates the problem even further.
It is estimated that 10 percent of children aged 7-14 years, a total of over 36,0000 children, were in employment in 2006. Children’s employment occurs predominantly in rural areas (agriculture and livestock sectors), mainly in the form of livestock herding. Boys aged 7-14 age years are more likely to be in employment than girls. Furthermore, many children are estimated to be engaged in the worst forms of child labour including working at informal gold and coal mines.
We praise God for the advances for children that have been made in Mongolia, while continuing to pray for the Church in that nation to advocate on behalf of children in need.