AUGUST 24, 2018
Jehovah’s Witnesses in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, received a certificate from the City Council’s office on June 14, 2018, officially granting permission to renew their religious entity.
Religious organizations in Mongolia are required to renew their registrations annually, and our brothers had successfully done this since first being registered in 1999. However, in 2015, the City Council withheld the renewal of our legal entity in Ulaanbaatar. Then, in January 2017, the City Council issued a ruling that officially annulled permission for the legal entity to carry out its religious activity. Council representatives refused to disclose the evidence they used to support their decision. The brothers decided to legally challenge the City Council’s decision.
During the Administrative Court proceedings, the attorney for the City Council attempted to introduce as evidence the decision made by the Russian Supreme Court to liquidate our legal entities within Russia. Our attorneys argued that this ruling has been the subject of international criticism and has been challenged in international courts. Additionally, the court was reminded that Russia’s ruling came after the City Council’s decisions and therefore could not be used as justification for its conclusions.
The Administrative Court reversed the City Council’s decision, concluding that the council had acted out of hearsay and failed to provide evidence of any harmful activity. It also found that the City Council had violated the brothers’ fundamental rights, including the freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs.
Jason Wise, one of the Witnesses’ attorneys who argued the case, stated: “While fundamental rights and freedoms do not depend on State registration, it is often difficult to worship freely without registration. Among other things, our legal entity facilitates importing Bibles and Bible literature, owning places of worship, and renting convention facilities. We are pleased that the Administrative Court overturned the City Council’s decision in Ulaanbaatar and recognized that such rulings would negatively affect our freedom of religion and association in Mongolia.”