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Grigory Melkonyants

Grigory Melkonyants

HRD, Co-Founder & Co-Chairperson
Moscow-Helsinki Group’s Human Rights Prize

Grigory Melkonyants is a voters’ rights activist and a human rights defender. He is one of the co-founders of Golos, one of the most prominent Russian voters’ rights movement, and is currently its co-chairperson. He has received several prestigious awards, including the Moscow-Helsinki Group’s Human Rights Prize of 2020. On 17 August 2023, he was arrested and questioned on the charges of “carrying out activities of an undesirable non-governmental organisation.” During the court hearing following his arrest, Grigory Melkonyants pleaded innocent.

The environment for the work of human rights defenders (HRDs) in the Russian Federation is difficult, especially for those who defend and promote the rights of LGBTI people, ethnic and religious minorities, refugees, as well as activists of the North Caucasus and the unlawfully annexed Crimean Peninsula. HRDs are often subjected to acts of harassment, surveillance, physical attacks, threat, raids and searches on their offices and homes, slander and smear campaigns, judicial harassment, arbitrary detention, and ill-treatment, as well as violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. There have also been cases where HRDs have been murdered as a result of their work.