In 1990 Mongolia abandoned its 70-year-old Soviet-style one-party state and embraced constitutional, political and economic reforms; while the Soviet withdrawal initially provoked poverty and unemployment, Mongolia intends to develop with the aid of significant mineral wealth.

 
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Constitution and government

The 1992 Mongolia constitution has secular objectives, as set out in Article 9:

  1. “The state shall respect religions and religions shall honour the state.
  2. State institutions shall not engage in religious activities and religious institutions shall not pursue political activities.
  3. The relationship between the state and religious institutions shall be regulated by law.”

Demography

A 2010 census in Mongolia found that 53% of the people said they were Buddhists while 39% said they were atheists. There is a significant Muslim population in land adjoining Kazakhstan. Buddhism is seen as the predominant religion, and it is clearly the government’s objective to protect its existence as a part of Mongolian cultural heritage. Moves to make it an official religion have been resisted.

The 2013 Report on International Religious Freedom states: “The national constitution, laws, and official policies specifically provide for the protection of religious freedom, but, in practice, central and local governments imposed numerous restrictions that affected members of minority religious groups. The degree of respect for and protection of religious freedom continued to vary among provinces. The law prohibits proselytizing by deceptive, pecuniary, or coercive means.”
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Education and children’s rights

All private religious schools are entitled to state funding for their secular curricula. The government is prohibited from giving state funds to religious schools for religious education. This policy applies equally to all religious groups. A Ministry of Education and Science directive bans religious instruction in public schools.

Freedom of expression, advocacy of humanist values

There have been growing concerns about the maturity and quality of journalism in Mongolia, with a significant decline being recorded by Reporters without Borders, between 2010 and 2012. Police indiscipline and government corruption have been increasingly evident.