Australia's National Reconciliation Week
27 May - 3 June
This year Reconciliation Week marks two significant milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey. It marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo High Court decision.
On the 27 May 1967 more than 90% of Australians voted ‘yes’ in a referendum to reduce inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Before 1967, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples did not have the same rights as other Australians under our rule book - the Australian Constitution. State governments made laws for Indigenous people and First Australians were not counted in estimates of our population.
The vote changed the way laws were made for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It shifted power from state governments to the Commonwealth. And for the first time, First Australians were counted equally in official estimates of the Australian population. This meant the Commonwealth Government could make laws that benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
One of the most important outcomes of the Referendum was to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with a symbol of recognition.
Twenty-five years later, on 3 June 1992, the High Court of Australia determined that terra nullius (land that belongs to nobody) does not apply to Australia. This historical event is recognised as the Mabo High Court decision, named after long-time campaigner, Eddie Mabo.
Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo, with fellow plaintiffs, Father Dave Passi, Sam Passi, James Rice and Celuia Mapo Salee, believed the Torres Strait belonged to Torres Strait Islander peoples and challenged the legal principle of terra nullius.
This decision recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have rights to the land – rights that existed before the British arrived and can still exist today.
It also led to the Australian Parliament passing the Native Title Act in 1993.
During this National Reconciliation Week we commemorate the significance of these events in our nation’s history.
For more information about National Reconciliation Week celebrations around Australia, visit Reconciliation Australia.
Australia Day Celebration
3 February 2017
Ulaanbaatar. The Australian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar hosted an Australian National Day reception on Friday, 3 February 2017 to celebrate the birth of Australia and Australia’s partnership with Mongolia. “This year is particularly notable as it is the first occasion for me to hold the Australia Day reception as the first resident Ambassador in Mongolia. This year also marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Mongolia” said Ambassador Langtry.
Forty-five years ago, on 15 September 1972, Australia’s then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam established diplomatic relations with Mongolia. Since 1990 relations considerably strengthened with both countries’ sharing a liberal democracy and free market economy. Australia has been assisting Mongolia through an annual AUD10 million bilateral development program. Since 1993, about 500 Mongolians have studied in Australia under the Australia Awards Scholarship scheme. Australia has rich experience in utilising high quality foreign investment to develop mineral wealth and is sharing its expertise with Mongolia. Australia and Mongolia also partners to foster sustainable economic and social development in Mongolia’s technical education, agriculture, public health and best-practice governance in mining.
“Both of us are facing big challenges in restructuring and reforming our economies. Australia is pleased to see Mongolia rising to the task of restoring investor confidence in close cooperation with the IMF. In these turbulent times, it is all the more important for Australia and Mongolia to remember the liberal democratic ties that bind us, which remain the best foundation for the civil, political and economic freedoms that both our countries aspire to,” added Ambassador Langtry.
Human Rights Day
10 December 2016
Today on 10 December 2016, we commemorate Human Rights Day. It was on this day 68 years ago that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Australia’s commitment to human rights is enduring. We are a founding member of the United Nations and we have been an advocate for its purposes and principles ever since. Our commitment reflects our national values.
This year, Human Rights Day calls for everyone to stand up for someone’s rights today #standupforhumanrights. We must continue our commitment to ensuring that all people are entitled to respect, dignity and protection of their rights.
It is with this commitment that Australia is campaigning for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2018-2020 term. If elected, Australia will be a principled and pragmatic Council member, engaging constructively with Member States, playing a bridge-building role and working to find practical solutions that have lasting effects for the most vulnerable groups.
For more information see our page on Australia’s candidacy for the United Nations Human Rights Council 2018-2020.
Australia and Mongolia signed Development Assistance Memorandum of Understanding
25 November 2016
Ulaanbaatar. On Friday, 25 November, Mr Choijilsuren Battogtokh, MP and the Finance Minister and Mr John Langtry, Australia’s Ambassador to Mongolia signed a Memorandum of Understanding that defines the terms of cooperation between the two Governments in support of Mongolia's development needs.
The first development MOU was signed in 1993, and since then Mongolia has been receiving Australia’s Official Development Assistance to strengthen its democratic institutions and build capacity. “Mongolia has benefitted greatly from Australian aid programs in the past two decades. By renewing the Memorandum of Understanding, Mongolia-Australia’s relations are deepened. Following the opening of the Australian Embassy in Mongolia it is an important milestone for our two countries’ strategic partnership,” said Finance Minister Choijilsuren B.
Along with the MoU, three project arrangements were signed. These will be guiding documents to implement Australia’s scholarship, volunteer and extractives programs in Mongolia. “Australia is committed to support Mongolia. 2017 is the 45th anniversary of Australia-Mongolia diplomatic relations and it is therefore appropriate that we renew our partnership and shared objectives to achieve a more prosperous Mongolia. An important sector targeted is human resource development and the continuation of the Australia Awards scholarship scheme” said Ambassador Langtry.
Between 1993 and 2016, under Australia’s ODA, a number of programs were implemented. Those include a flagship Australia Awards Program, under which 440 Mongolians have studied in Australia, and extractives program, which Australia has been assisting Mongolia improve management of the mining sector. Under the Australian Volunteers for Development program over 300 Australian volunteers have contributed time and expertise to help Mongolian organisations, and Australia has assisted Mongolia to develop its agriculture, and protect its natural environment.
DAP Signing Ceremony was held
17 November 2016
Ulaanbaatar. On Thursday 17 November 2016, Ambassador John Langtry awarded grants to ten organisations selected under the Direct Aid Program (DAP). Each project (see the list below) will contribute towards the development of Mongolia and be implemented in areas including youth development, women empowerment, environment, public health, poverty reduction, agriculture, and improving governance. The organizations will mainstream disability inclusiveness and gender across the grants to ensure the benefits of grants outreach equally to people with disability and men and women.
Since 2003, over 100 Mongolian NGOs and organisations have implemented a total of 114 projects. A total of 120 applications were received for the 2016-2017 DAP grants.
“DAP is a good opportunity for Mongolian organisations particularly civic and non-profits to address social and environmental issues. Demand for this competitive grant is getting higher as the number of organisations applying for has been increasing. I congratulate the organisations who won the grant for 2016-2017 and I am sure that they would do a great job. In the meantime, I thank all the organisations which participated and urge them to apply for the next round of DAP in June 2017,” said Ambassador John Langtry.
Tsenguun Tumurkhuyag, Program Manager for Mongol Ecology Centre said “We are happy to receive the Australian Government funding to implement our Junior Ranger Program. 200 students in 4-7th grades from Hatgal and Khankh secondary school will learn to protect Mongolia’s environment and learn natural history of Hovsgol area, its geological features, biological diversity, hydrologic cycle, forestry, soil composition and climate change impacts.”
DAP is a flexible small grants program funded from Australia’s aid budget. DAP funding is designed to advance developmental outcomes with projects primarily focused on practical and tangible results. This may include projects which support good governance, human rights and those with a strong advocacy component.
DAP Recipients of Mongolia: 2016-2017
15 November 2016
- Establishing a Classroom for Orientation in Surroundings at School #116 for Visually Impaired and Blind Children
Around 8,000 Mongolians are either blind or visually impaired. They are unemployed and poor. School #116 is the only school in Mongolia for the visually impaired and the blind. With DAP funding, School # 116 will establish a special classroom on Orientation and Surroundings with the aim to develop the skills of the students. Direct beneficiaries of the project will be 120 current students as well as their parents and future students.
- Expanding Paper Craft Production Using Waste Newspapers
In 2005, a group of Mongolians with mobility disability got together, to form the Mongolian National Association for Wheelchair Users (MNAWU). Today, the MNAWU serves over 700 members, a half of whom are women. The Women’s Department of the Mongolian National Association for Wheelchair Users wants to ensure equal participation in employment for women with a mobility disability and women whose child with disability. The project will establish a business cooperation overseeing a production and sales structure, and train 50 women to produce and sell souvenirs on a regular basis and increase their family income in a more sustainable way.
- Human Papilloma Virus in Mongolia
One of the most challenging public health issues facing women in Mongolia, irrespective of age, education and wealth, is cervical cancer. At least 300 new cases are diagnosed each year and 85% are at the late stage. Cervical cancer is the 2nd most common malignancy among women in Mongolia. Mongolia implemented a pilot project in 2012 and vaccinated 9,111 girls aged between 11 and 15. However, the program was unsuccessful in the face of anti-vaccination lobby groups.
We seek to share Australia’s experience inventing the vaccine and successfully vaccinating our vulnerable population.
The Cancer Council of Mongolia will conduct a study among 19 to 20 year old women in Selenge and Umnugobi provinces. Their research will evaluate particular types of HPV (16, 18 and 45) among 500 vaccinated and 500 unvaccinated young women. Moreover, other types of HPVs (31, 33, 35, 39, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66 and 58) will be assessed. The findings will be important evidence to inform and design a nationwide vaccination program.
- Enhancing the Capacity of Mongolian Scouts to Support Youth
The Scout Association of Mongolia in collaboration with Scouts Australia will establish a national campground on its recently secured land, which is 85km north of UB. As a result, 6-25 years old Mongolians, volunteers and leaders will be able to benefit from this open-air activities shelter. Asian regional Scout Jamborees will be held in Mongolia in 2017.
- Engage Future Stewards of Conservation by Developing a Junior Ranger Program in Gateway Communities of Lake Hovsgol National Park
In 2014-2015, some 45,000 international and domestic travelers visited Lake Hovsgol, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mongolia. The tourism season is short and lasts for only two months; the majority of locals in Hankh and Hatgal soums try to benefit from the influx of tourists by engaging in a variety of tourism services, ranging from setting up ger camps to working as drivers and tour guides and selling crafts.
The Mongol Ecology Center was established in 2010 with a goal to transfer best practices to preserve environment and natural resources and cultural heritage of Mongolia. They proposed to implement a Junior Ranger Program in Hovsgol province. 200 students in 4-7th grades from Hatgal and Hankh secondary schools will learn to protect Mongolia’s environment and learn about the natural history of the Hovsgol area, its geological features, biological diversity, hydrologic cycle, forestry, soil composition and climate change impacts.
- Partners for Protection Network
According to the National Statistics Office, 764 crimes involving domestic violence were recorded in the first half of 2016, demonstrating an increase of 178 cases or 34% from the previous year. In a sparsely populated country of 3 million, over 90 victims have lost their lives between 2011 and 2015 due to domestic violence. Half of these victims had referrals to justice and public service providers, although protection services were not available. Systematic and technical problems exist in health care, police and judicial sectors. The National Centre against Violence (NCAV) has 22 years of experience and inclusive child protection and social works services have been provided to a total of 19,700 clients, including psychological counselling, legal assistance, advocacy and protection. Under DAP funding, the NCAV aims to enable a timely protection services framework for support of survivors through strengthening capacity building of and fostering supportive partnership and cooperation amongst government, multi-disciplinary officers and specialists who provide services to domestic violence victims.
- Hope for the Future
Mongolia’s rural population of around 1.4 million is closely linked with semi-nomadic livestock herding and limited livelihood opportunities exist outside of this sector (UNDP, 2007). Livestock herding is becoming increasingly tenuous and risky due to a combination of small herd sizes, high overall livestock numbers resulting in overgrazing, loss of seasonal movement patterns, increased numbers of unskilled herders, and increased frequency of severe winters (dzud). Through its activity, Family Agricultural Resources Mongolia (FARM) will work with severely affected dzud area like Arvaikheer soum of Uvurkhangai Province. The activity will be implemented for one year with a goal to provide a sustainable livelihood of vegetable production that improves food security, gardening education and knowledge for 25 vulnerable women headed households in rural Mongolia.
- Providing Rights of Well-being and Playing Basketball with Local Youths
Herlen and Bayan-Adarga soums in Hentii province have high poverty rate and have no sport clubs or designate facilities for youth development. The Trainer of Basketball B (TOBB), a local NGO proposes to build a basketball open court and provide training clothing for 30 children (15 girls and 15 boys) from poor families in basketball. This will help the youth to become self-confident and lead a healthy life-style. Local governments of both soums, Och Manlai LLC and Durvun-Uliral Hentii LLC will also provide in-kind and financial support for the project.
- “Green Way” Waste and Recycling Education Centre
Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ulaanbaatar, the Rotary Club of Khangarid will address municipal waste management issues by offering training on waste management and recycling to teachers at the Mongolian National University of Education and students at the Secondary School #9. Keep South Australia Beautiful (KESAB), South Australia’s not-for-profit organisation that delivers world-class environmental sustainability education program, will provide an engaging and interactive platform to the project beneficiaries. Selected classrooms will be at both schools will be redesigned as “Waste and Recycling Centre/Hub.”
- Improving Public Services through “Check My Service” Mobile Application
Public services are an integral part of our lives. Governments throughout the world have been increasingly paying attention to improving the services for which they are responsible. The goal of “CheckMyService” is to create a mobile application that facilitates direct communication on service issues between citizens and the administration of Ulaanbaatar city. This application encourages citizens to report issues in their neighbourhood, share and discuss problems, and monitor the authorities’ reactions. According to the report of the Information Communications Technology Agency (2014) 45% of UB habitants were online every day and more than half of the UB population used internet at least once a week.
The Democracy Education Centre (DEMO) was established in 2002. In 2012, DEMO launched the Check My Service initiative and assessed the transparency and accountability of 84 public services by service recipients through a Community Score Card tool. Their past work was recognised with an Integrity Award by the Anti-Corruption Agency of Mongolia (2013) as well as selected as one of the best innovations in Asia and Pacific region by the Open Government Partnership in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
Melbourne Cup in Mongolia
1 November 2016
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. On Tuesday, 1 November 2016, Australian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar observes the Melbourne Cup for the first time in Mongolia. Melbourne Cup is Australia’s annual horse racing tournament that is equivalent of Mongolia’s Naadam.
Melbourne Cup is said as an event that stops the nation. It is as exciting and culturally important for Australians as Naadam is for Mongolians. The event is all about fashion, food and entertainment. As horse lovers and famous for its riding skills, many Mongolians have been to the Melbourne Cup.
“During my first meeting with Mr Sergelen Purev, the Minister for Food, Agriculture and Light Industries, we discussed about a number of topics including horse racing and Naadam. It was apparent that there is a need to introduce international standard of horse racing to Mongolia, addressing jockey’s safety, as well as bringing Mongolian horses, trainers and riders into international tournaments such as Melbourne Cup,” said Mr John Langtry, Australian Ambassador to Mongolia. “Organising horse racing at an international standard bolsters economic growth, promotes not only safety of the riders, spectators and the horses, but also tourism industry of the country. While keeping our glorious history and nomadic lifestyle, Mongolia can also successfully adopt international development and apply latest technological advances into the industry,” said Minister Sergelen Purev.
About Melbourne Cup
The Victoria Race Club has been organising what is known today “Melbourne Cup” since as early as 1840s. More than 100 thousand spectators arrive at the venue and over 3 million people watch the tournament on television. AUD6.2 million are offered to the top 10 horses, the winner receiving a trophy and $3.2 million and the tenth horse gets $125,000 and a trophy. Find out more at: https://www.flemington.com.au/
More Australian students to study in Mongolia
26 September 2016
Canberra. Thirty five Australian undergraduate students will study and undertake work placements in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in 2017 through the Australian Government’s flagship New Colombo Plan education program.
“Students from the University of Newcastle, the University of New England, the Australian National University and Edith Cowan University will study a broad range of subjects including health, society and culture” John Langtry, Australian Ambassador to Mongolia said.
“New Colombo Plan mobility students will return to Australia with new insights and understanding about Mongolia and new friendships that will last a lifetime,” the ambassador added.
New Colombo Plan 2017 mobility projects in Mongolia include:
- The Big Idea in Mongolia
- Modern Mongolia: Challenges to the Environment, Economy and Empire and
- Mongolia Study Tour for Community and Cultural Development
“These are exciting projects that demonstrate the many opportunities for Australian students to deepen their academic and life experiences through study and work placements in Mongolia,” Ambassador John Langtry said.
The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific by supporting Australian undergraduate students to study and undertake internships in the region.
For more information on the New Colombo Plan, visit www.dfat.gov.au/new-colombo-plan or follow @NewColomboPlan.
Meet the Mongolians of the Australia Global alumni Network
16 September 2016
Ulaanbaatar. Over one hundred Mongolians representing the Parliament of Mongolia, government agencies, public and private sector gather on 16 September 2016. What unifies them is that they are Australians by Education.
Since 1993, over 400 Mongolians studied in Australia under the Australia Awards Scholarship. Currently, a thousand more Mongolians study in Australia by funding their own education. After the U.S.A, Australia is the second largest English-speaking destination for Mongolian students. On the occasion of the fifth Australia Future Unlimited Education Exhibition (AFUEE), which takes place in Shangri La hotel on 17 September 2016, the Australian Embassy in Mongolia opens up the opportunity to join the “Australia Global Alumni” network not only for Mongolians who studied in Australia with Australian government scholarship but also for Mongolians who privately funded their studies.
“The first and foremost benefit joining is the global networking and continuous learning,” said MP Enkhbold Nyamaa, President of Mozzies, the Mongolian Association of Australian Alumni. Zoljargal Nyamjav, an AAS graduate said “Through this network, I can connect with former classmates who studied resource economics with me in the Australian National University and find out what they are doing in Chile or Nigeria.”
Education is Australia’s second largest export after mining, contributing AUD18 billion to the country’s GDP per year. In the past 60 years, 2.5 million international students have studied in Australia.
The Australia Global Alumni Network booth will be open at the fifth AFUEE. Those who are interested in studying in Australia will have access to the expanding community of global Australian alumni including Mongolians upon their return.
Those who are interested in joining the Australia Global Alumni Network should register at https://globalalumni.gov.au/ or join “Australia Global Alumni” at LinkedIn.
Ambassador hosted a reception for Australian and Mongolian doctors
15 August 2016
Ulaanbaatar. On Monday 15 August 2016, Ambassador John Langtry hosted a reception for an Australian specialist medical team from Interplast and their Mongolian counterparts including the directors and doctors of the Mongolian Society of Anaesthetists and Burns Department, National Trauma and Orthopaedic Research Centre.
Guests included the Mongolian Health Minister, Mrs Tsogtsetseg Ayush, the Executive Director of the National Cancer Council, Mrs Tsetsegsaikhan Batmunkh, the Regional Director of Communicable Diseases, Western Pacific Region, WHO, Mr Marc Jacobs, British Ambassador Catherine Arnold and Canadian Ambassador Ed Jager.
Health Minister A.Tsogtsetseg highlighted the importance of sharing knowledge and training Mongolian doctors in burns management and plastic and reconstructive surgery. She thanked the Australian doctors for their dedication and hard work. Ambassador John Langtry said “Australia and Mongolia can learn from each other not only in delivering emergency and trauma medical services but also reaching out to patients with burns and offering health services in remote areas.”
Alongside the Australian team, Mongolian doctors at the National Trauma and Orthopaedic Research Hospital and Khuvsgul United Hospital will perform surgery on Mongolians who suffer from burns and learn the latest methods in plastic and reconstructive surgery, anaesthetics and burns treatment.
The Interplast team of doctors will visit the Khuvsgul United Hospital in Murun from Wednesday 17 to Saturday 20 August 2016 and the Burns Department of the National Trauma and Orthopaedic Outreach Centre in Ulaanbaatar from Monday 22 to Thursday 25 August 2016.
In addition to the support provided by Interplast, the Australian Embassy currently supports the National Cancer Council in their efforts to fight cancer, in particular in their efforts to study the impact of HPV vaccinations in Mongolia, the Mongolian National Centre for Communicable Diseases in their efforts to diagnose and treat STIs and HIV/AIDS, the LGBT Centre to develop a health strategy focussed on the particular needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and intersexed community, the Mongolian National Rehabilitation Centre to assist primary care givers for people with a disability, the Universal Progress/Independent Living Centre, to empower people with disabilities and improve their standard of living and the Mongolian National Federation of the Blind to improve services for the vision impaired.
Australian Ambassador handed over his credentials to the President of Mongolia
22 December 2015
Ulaanbaatar. Australia's first resident Ambassador to Mongolia, Mr John Langtry presented credentials to His Excellency Mr Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia on 22 December 2015. The Ambassador's Introductory remarks are as follows:
It is a great honour to be appointed as Australia’s first resident Ambassador to Mongolia. I look forward to building upon the strong relationship between Mongolia and Australia. We share democratic values. We both want our economies to prosper. We both value education highly. We both have shared interests in a rules-based regional order.
I look forward to working with, the over 50, Australian organisations and business already partnering with Mongolian business and welcoming the participation of many more. I am pleased that over 400 Mongolian scholarship students have graduated from Australian universities and have brought their skills and experiences (and a love for new sports and culture) back home. I look forward to meeting many of these graduates and hearing about their experiences in Australia.
2016 will be a busy year for our Embassy team. We will open a new permanent chancery later in the year. We will do everything we can to support the ASEM meeting of world leaders to Ulaanbaatar. We will continue to work hard on investment relations.
I thank the Government of Mongolia for all its work in assisting us to establish the Australian Embassy here before the end of 2015. I look forward to developing close relations with the Government, to getting to know Australia’s many friends in Mongolia, and to learning more about the history and culture of this wonderful country.
Australia's Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Mongolia