In a strategic move, India has decided to terminate the decades-old visa-free movement policy with Myanmar, citing national security concerns and the imperative to preserve the demographic structure of its north-eastern states sharing a border with Myanmar.
Kim Aris, the youngest son of Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has urged the army to release his mother who is currently in jail after she was handed a 33-year sentence in a series of trials following the coup that toppled her democratically-elected government in February 2021.
Speaking to the BBC in London, Aris, a British national, said that “I can’t let my mother languish in prison”, and urged the global community to do more to help the 78-year-old Nobel Laureate.
Aris claimed that the military has not given him any information about his mother and that despite contacting the Embassy of Myanmar in London, the British Foreign Office and the International Red Cross, there has been no help.
“Before this, I didn’t want to speak to the media or get involved too much,” the 46-year-old told the BBC in his first-ever interview with international media.
He had not spoken out when his mother was detained for nearly 15 years between 1989 and 2010.
“It was better that I stayed out of politics. My mother never wanted me to be involved. But now that she has been sentenced, and the military are clearly not being reasonable, I think I can say what I want.”
Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest following the coup, was moved to solitary confinement last year in a prison in the capital Nay Pyi Taw.
Almost no news of her has emerged in the last two years and she was also rumoured to have been ill, but the the military denied the reports.
Aris also urged the international community to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, saying the international community “must start doing something, including putting a proper arms embargo on the military, and even supporting those who are trying to fight the military”.
Since the coup, Myanmar has spiralled into a civil war, which has so far killed tens of thousands of people.
He also urged the world to provide “proper aid for the people of Burma who are going through such hard times… and have nobody supporting them, other than the people of Burma”.
Aris and his brother have been mostly separated from their mother since 1988, when Suu Kyi returned to Myanmar from the UK to care for her ailing mother.
In 1991, when she could not leave Myanmar for fear of not being able to return, Aris, who was then 14 years old, received the Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf.
She did not go back to see her husband before he died of cancer in 1999.
Aris finally visited her in 2010 when she was released from detention.
“The military will never win this war. It’s just a matter of how much longer it goes on,” he told the BBC .”The sooner they hand back power to my mother, and the democratically-elected government, the sooner things can start to progress in their country.”