The Real World Champions

The battle lines are drawn. Tension is running high. Passion is only slightly behind. The world is abuzz with the vuvuzela. We are on the verge of the first knock-outs of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

As football (soccer) fans around the world gear up to roar their chosen sides onto victory, there is one team people around the world should all be rooting for:

Stand Up United


This side, put together by the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization Amnesty International, features a roster of true heroes – individuals who see wrong in the world around them and choose to stand up and act.

Mukhmed Gadzhiev campaigns to raise awareness around disappearances in Ingushetia, a republic of Russia, and the involvement of security forces in rights abuses. Amina Janjua set up an organization for families of those who have disappeared since 2001 in Pakistan and are believed to be in secret detention centers under government control with no access to lawyers or their loved ones. In Serbia, lawyer Natasa Kandic works to ensure Serbian police, military and paramilitary forces responsible for abuses committed during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s are brought to justice. Claudia Lema campaigns to reduce the number of women dying during pregnancy and childbirth within rural indigenous communities in Peru. Africa’s LGBT communities have a strong ally in Joel Nan of Cameroon who campaigns to end abuses and discrimination across the continent. Wilter Nyabate works to improve conditions for the tens of thousands of residents in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.  “P” advocates for women and children in impoverished rural South Africa communities, battling to help victims of domestic violence and HIV/AIDS. Haj Sami Sadeq focuses on obtaining basic services and meeting the needs of Aqaba village’s residents in Israel/OPT. Lawyer Shadi Sadr defends women’s rights in Iran, pushing for equal rights under the law and an end to the use of the death penalty. Father Alejandro Solalinde provides shelter and advocacy for migrants in Mexico. Dhondup Wangchen is imprisoned in China for his efforts on behalf of human rights in Tibet, sentenced to a six-year sentence for making a video.

Unlike the football stars on the World Cup pitch, these individuals are hardly household names…. but they should be. Far off the radar of the world’s news media and global consciousness these individuals battle day after day under extreme conditions to magnify the voices of the voiceless, the most marginalized communities in the world….

…. And that is a win for us all.

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