ULAN BATOR, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Mongolian Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the government must enforce an environmental protection law approved by parliament.
The decision was a victory for environmental groups, who say the government has failed to enforce the law against mining companies, resulting in rivers drying up and damage to the natural environment.
"Today's decision of the Supreme Court is a success for our movement. It demonstrates we are right and the government should enforce the law and halt mining operations along river basins and forest areas," said environmental activist Tsetsgee Munkhbayar from leading Mongolian environmental group United Movement of Rivers and Lakes.
Last year, the group sued the government for damaging the natural environment. However, a primary court in a district of Ulan Bator found the government was not responsible for compensation over environmental damage. The Supreme Court overturned that decision and ordered the government to fulfill the law.
The environmental protection law was passed by parliament in July 2009 and much resented by gold mining companies, which operate along river basins and forest areas.
Due to the issue of compensation for mining companies, the enforcement of the law has faced an uncertain future.