On 10 December, International Human Rights Day, WSM would like to pay tribute to all those who stand on the barricades every day. Colleagues from nearly 100 social movements and networks in 24 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Belgium. They fight, sometimes while risking their lives, for full labour rights and social protection.
Today we pay tribute to 3 people from 3 countries and 3 continents. They symbolise hundreds of thousands of brave men and women around the world who have made 'human rights' their life's work.
Melody LENDIO is trade union leader for the union KMU on the banana plantations of the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.
"In September 2018, when we organised a strike to persuade the multinational to pay higher wages, they deployed the army against us. We were accused of terrorism. I had to go into hiding to save my life, so I fled to the capital, Manila.”
KMU is an independent trade union championing the rights of Filipino workers and higher minimum wages. KMU fights fiercely against serious human rights violations which are a daily reality for workers, trade union leaders and human rights defenders.
Maria MARTINEZ from the Dominican Republic works for MOSCTHA.
"Some compatriots don't understand me, a Dominican who stands up for people of Haitian origin? They forget that human rights apply to everyone. I am fighting for undocumented migrants. They will not have access to education, health care or work. That injustice makes me angry.”
MOSCTHA stands up for people of Haitian origin, who often live without official documents and therefore do not have access to health care, jobs and a good education.
Yves DOSSOU is the driving force behind the human rights organisation SADD from Togo.
"Thanks to our actions, something is changing. That gives me strength! We defend and promote rights. Of all people, but especially of groups that are easily forgotten, such as the men and women in the mining sector. We are also there for the people who live around the mines. Their environment is degraded and their health is at risk. Mining companies must take responsibility. We continue to insist on that.”