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  • Writer's pictureManushya Foundation

Muay denounced how the Lao government failed the dam collapse survivors and got jailed in return!

Who is Muay?

Houayheuang Xayabouly, also known as “Muay”, is a brave Lao Woman Environmental and Human Rights Defender who fearlessly spoke truth to power by denouncing corruption and human rights violation within the government and corporate sectors in Laos!

How did Muay support the Attapeu dam collapse survivors?

Following the collapse of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy in Attapeu Province on July 23 2018, Muay began raising awareness about its aftermath and how it adversely impacted the affected communities. However, coverage of the incident on all media outlets, except state-run media, was swiftly dismissed by the government!

Lao authorities’ restrictions on accessing the affected villages and provinces prompted Muay to create Facebook videos while visiting camps where displaced villagers were temporarily relocated. During her several visits, Muay offered financial assistance, food, and clothing and called for everyone to do the same. Her videos served as one of the few sources of information revealing the reality of the situation and the aftermath of the saddle dam collapse.

In her reports, she pointed out the shortcomings in the government authorities' assistance and their lack of action in supporting communities despite receiving millions of dollars in relief supplies and compensations funds. Even worse, during her visits to the government’s collection centers, Muay witnessed that reliefs supplies were sold by Lao officials at markets, claiming that the roads leading to the survivors’ villagers were too damaged!

How was Muay silenced by the Lao government?

As a result of her activism in defending the rights of the Lao people, Muay became a target of repression by the Lao government, seeking to make an example of her to deter others from speaking out! In September 2019, she was arrested by Lao authorities and subsequently received a 5-year prison sentence and a 20 million Kip fine. She was later charged with criminal defamation and anti-state propaganda for just telling the truth!

Manushya Foundation’s efforts to #FreeMuay from jail

In March 2020, Humanity Beyond Borders and Manushya Foundation sent a joint complaint to UN Human Rights expert regarding the human rights violation faced by Muay. In December 2020, The Human Rights Foundation, Humanity Beyond Borders and Manushya Foundation jointly filed a new complaint with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, leading to Muay's case being determined as arbitrary detention. The UN Working Grup have also called for her immediate release but Muay is still being unfairly kept in jail by the Lao government!

Our Call to Action!

✊🏼Manushya Foundation remain in complete solidarity with Muay and urge the Lao government to immediately release her and drop all charges against her ! Lao PDR must comply with its international human rights obligations and stop silencing activists and #HumanRightsDefenders from speaking Truth to Power!

#WeAreManushyan ♾ Equal Human Beings

🔗 Learn more about Muay’s human rights work and story, and Manushya’s efforts to release her here.

How can you help ?

👉 Donate to Muay's family as Muay was the main breadwinner for her daughter and retired parents by clicking here.

👉 Share this post with your network and denounce the injustice!

👉 Use #FreeMuay to join the campaign and express your support for her. There is power in numbers!

While you are here...

➡️ Find out more about Manushya Foundation’s our campaign to #FreeMuay from jail:


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