Ms. Houayheuang Xayabouly, also known as Muay, is a Lao tour guide and shop owner. Most importantly, she is also an environmental activist and woman human rights defender. She contributes to the protection and respect for the rights of the Lao people, by highlighting the harms caused from business activities and corruption, as well as calling for solutions to redress the same.
As a result of Muay's contribution to ensure the protection and respect for the rights of the Lao people, she was made an example of by the government of Lao PDR.
She is currently imprisoned, facing a prison sentence of 5 years and a fine of 20 million Kip, after a pre-trial detention and a summary trial where due process and fair trial standards were not complied with at all: she was arbitrarily arrested on 12 September 2019 and detained since then. In November 2019 she was convicted of criminal defamation and distributing anti-state propaganda under article 117 of the Criminal Code.
Muay was targeted for the legitimate human rights work that she carried out in support of the rights of the grassroots communities in Lao PDR:
To support her, Manushya Foundation and other organisations took action:
The Lao Government's Reply to the Joint Allegation Letter sent by UN Human Rights Experts
On 20 October 2020, the government of Lao PDR released an official reply to the Joint Allegation Letter sent by UN Human Rights Experts on 13 July 2020. In their reply, Lao authorities reject any allegation of wrongful conviction and human rights violations concerning Muay and go as far as finding that "many information and allegations included in the said joint communication are inaccurate and twisted, and some are blatantly fabricated". In other words, the government of Lao PDR accuses Muay of being a criminal and refuses to recognize her as a human rights defender.
Check what YOU can do to support her:
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You can donate here
Check our tribute to Muay as our 'Human of the Week'
We chose Muay as our "Human Of the Week" back in July, highlighting her amazing human rights work as well as her unfair arrest and the human rights violations against her.
You can access the post here
Like the #FreeMuay Campaign Facebook page
Check the #FreeMuay Campaign Facebook Page and like it to show your support to Muay!
Thank you for your solidarity and support to #FreeMuay!