BWI confers Rights for All Award to Myanmar woman unionist

On the third and last day of its 5th World Congress, the Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI) conferred its Rights for All Award to Sandar, a Myanmar woman trade union leader who is at the forefront in the Burmese trade unions’ struggle to reclaim democracy from the military junta.

The Rights for All award is given to those who have shown exceptional commitment in the struggle for democracy, peace and human rights, and against submission to force that sometimes come with personal sacrifices. It is part of the larger BWI “Power to the People” Awards which aim to celebrate the exemplary work of BWI affiliates and/or individual members worldwide and highlight exceptional examples of trade union struggles and victories against overarching system challenges.

BWI Deputy President Dave Noonan presented the award to Sandar, who introduced her as an important trade union leader in the struggle for democracy in Myanmar. He said that since the coup, many trade unionists have been arrested, tortured and killed for the “crime” of exercising fundamental rights. Sandar and others have been subject to intense repression, and despite the state’s violence, intimidation and fear, they have persisted. 

In a very emotional and inspiring tribute, more than 700 delegates gave Sandar a standing ovation to recognise her courage, exemplary work and sacrifices to defend trade union rights and democracy in Myanmar.  

BWI is calling on the United Nations General Assembly to recognise the National Unity Government (NUG) as the one and true government of the Myanmar people.