In Memory of Mikael Danielyan


Democracy advocates are expressing sadness over the passing of Armenian human rights defender Mikael “Mika” Danielyan (left), 57, earlier this week.

“A fierce advocate for democracy and human rights in Armenia, Mika monitored court cases, prison conditions, and the military, among other issues,” said the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), noting that he served as the chairman and executive director of the Helsinki Association, a longtime NED grantee:

Mika was also devoted to the NGO sector in Armenia. He mentored young activists, provided legal assistance to experienced human rights defenders under pressure, and formed partnerships with media outlets to help amplify the work of the human rights community. Through his online talk show, “The Dissident Kitchen,” Mika engaged in lively discussion of political and human rights topics with invited guests. As one human rights defender in Armenia said, “without Mika, we are orphans.” He will be deeply missed.

Among many other issues, he was the first mainstream human rights activist to defend the rights of sexual minorities, a position which brought him both harassment and enemies, said the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

Mika’s activities and the activities of the organization founded by him were entirely aimed at protecting human rights and the promotion and protection of democratic values, activists attest.

He was a frequent commentator on the political situation within Armenia and helped to raise domestic issues abroad through his network of international partners, the NED added. In 2008, his work was recognized with the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan’s Armenian Freedom Defender Award.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email