"My activism has taught me that every citizen should know, protect and fight for their rights."
Tsegmid has fought to defend human rights since his son was killed by a police officer during riots in 2008.
On 1 July, during riots in 2008, my eldest son, Dorjsuren, was shot in the chin and killed by a firearm used by a police officer. He was one of five young men who died that day. Since then, their families have collaborated with the families of people who were injured to demand that the government bring to justice the people responsible for their deaths.
A range of activities
We have campaigned in many different ways. I have met personally with the authorities – including the Mongolian President – to push for an official government investigation into the case. Soon after the my son was killed I collected more than 2,300 signatures and protested in front of the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs to demand that the damages or funeral costs to be reimbursed immediately, and that the government fulfil our demands.
In co-operation with the Mongolian Democratic Association, we held a Day to Fight for Human Rights on the anniversaries of the event in 2009 and 2010.
A hunger strike in 2009 led to talks with the police. We continued to insist that our demands be met for three young men who had been injured on 1 July 2008 but whose health subsequently worsened. With the support of Ts. Oyungerel, the President’s Human Rights Adviser, they were treated in hospital and cared for in Korea.
Then, in November 2010, the case was sent back for additional criminal investigation, and the Mongolian Parliament had an open discussion about it for the first time.
Learning for life
The week after my son died I went to Amnesty International Mongolia for legal advice. From that day onwards, as well as receiving advice, I got involved in training for human rights defenders, used the Human Rights Education Library, provided updates on the case and have been active in many other ways. In addition, the NGO coalition that was set up by the families of the victims, has cooperated consistently with Amnesty International.
My activism has taught me that every citizen should know, protect and fight for their rights. On 1 July 2008 we saw what a government can do to limit people’s rights. Our family, relatives, friends have always supported me, and my youngest son is starting to study law this year.
The main challenge I have faced is the overly bureaucratic government, which has very little understanding of human rights and which acts to compromise our rights. But I continue to be motivated by the knowledge that I have done a good and necessary deed.