International governments should impose “tougher sanctions” on Myanmar and restrict its military from accessing aviation fuel, the son of the country’s ousted leader has said.
Kim Aris’ mother Aung San Suu Kyi was the head of Myanmar’s government before she was arrested during a military coup in the country in 2021.
He has spoken to Sky News after chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay and his team went undercover deep in the jungle in Myanmar to report on the civil war which has been raging in the country since the coup.
They spent a month in Myanmar with resistance fighters, medics and volunteers who are fighting a war the military regime claims isn’t happening.
Asked why international governments are not speaking about the war in Myanmar as much as people in the country would hope, Mr Aris said: “Unfortunately, I think it’s kind of an indication of the disinterest of people in what’s going on on the other side of the world… Until people themselves start to get involved, the governments aren’t likely to do anything.”
He added that governments have “condemned what’s happening” but now need to take more meaningful steps.
Asked what measures those might be, Mr Aris said: “Tougher sanctions would help, and making sure the military are restricted or completely cut off from aviation fuel and those kinds of things.
“This would help immensely.
“And just being able to get aid to the people who need it. At the moment, the military are cutting off all aid to everybody.”
Mr Aris’s call to restrict Myanmar‘s access to aviation fuel comes as the military is using fighter jets to bomb targets during the civil war.
He cited a report from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights which says China and Russia are the main suppliers of advanced weapons to Myanmar’s military.
‘No concrete news of Suu Kyi’s whereabouts’
Mr Aris grew up in the UK with his mother in the early years of his life and remained in Britain when she returned to Myanmar as a political figure who promoted democracy and human rights.
He told Sky News the last time he spoke to his mother was before her government was overthrown more than two years ago.
Mr Aris continued: “Yes. I haven’t really received any concrete news about her whereabouts and I haven’t had any communication with her since before the coup.
“So despite my requests for official channels, I haven’t received any response.
“It is hard, but I’m kind of used to it, having lived with this most of my life.”
Myanmar’s military rulers repeatedly imprisoned Suu Kyi under house arrest between 1989 and 2010 as they viewed her as someone undermining the peace and stability of the country.
However, following her release from house arrest for the final time she became state counsellor, the title for the de facto leader equivalent to a prime minister, in 2016.
Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders led a democratic experiment in the country before it was crushed by the military coup in 2021.
Their government was overthrown and she was arrested alongside others.