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28 Sep 2020

Manushya Foundation

Campaign to free dam collapse activist Houayheuang Xayabouly "Muay" from jail launched

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"Free Lao Woman Human Rights Defender Ms. Houayheuang Xayabouly (Muay) and Stop the Human Rights Violations Against Her" 2020

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.


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:


Lands that belonged to the Lao people was also forcibly taken away from them and given to Chinese companies for mines, dams, railways, infrastructure projects and special economic zones

She highlighted the unfair practices in the Chinese-owned and operated banana plantations, where indigenous groups that lost their land to the plantations were forced to work, suffering negative health impacts because of pollution

Following the 2018 dam collapse in Laos, Muay condemned the poor assistance provided by the government and its inaction in supporting communities. A year after this event, the same provinces were impacted by flooding and displacement as a result of tropical storms. She criticised the slow response of the government in providing assistance, bridging attention of the failure of government to learn from its shortcomings.