The son of imprisoned leader Aung San Suu Kyi has launched a fresh bid for his mother’s freedom, saying his fight to see her released will “never cease”.
Her youngest son, Kim Aris, has joined forces with a charity urging people to get a tattoo in support of Myanmar and raise money for the millions displaced by the civil war.
Speaking to The Independent, Oxford-born andUK-based Mr Aris - who is getting a tattoo of a Burmese water dragon - said he was determined to raise the profile of his mother’s incarceration to make sure her plight was “heard louder across the globe”.
Using the former name for Myanmar, he said: “The fight to free my mother Aung San Suu Kyi from her illegal imprisonment in Burma will never cease.
“She is a symbol of my country in her prison cell, a candle that flickers and will never disappear. She has given her life to find freedom for her country. I want to give new energy to her campaign by starting a new one here to make sure the call to end her incarceration will be heard louder across the globe.
“The fundraising and the tattoos signal the generosity of people who want Burma to be free from military dictatorship and to find a way to liberation and peace and prosperity.
“As a son, I will never cease in my love of my mother and will continue to do all I can to highlight injustice and the darkening of basic human rights and freedoms.”
Ms Suu Kyi was arrested on 1 February 2021 following a military coup that sparked protests across the country. Her continued detention has sparked outrage from the international community.
In August, the authorities pardoned five of the 19 charges against her, which merely brought down the number of years she faces in jail from 33 to 27. At her age, that is still effectively a life sentence.
The slew of cases against her has been seen by both her supporters and officials in the West as trumped up, aimed at discrediting her in order to legitimise the military’s takeover, while also preventing the former leader from returning to politics.
In Myanmar, millions of people have been displaced in the years since the government was overthrown while thousands have been killed.
Volker Turk, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, has accused the Myanmar armed forces of “airstrikes, mass killings, and burning of villages” that target civilians.
The military has concurrently been waging an aggressive detention campaign against dissenters, arresting tens of thousands of civilians.
Mr Aris said countless people, including women and children, have been arbitrarily arrested, jailed, tortured, raped and killed.
More than 25,000 people have been arrested since the coup in 2021, while 19,636 remain in detention, including Ms Suu Kyi, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an NGO that tracks the war in Myanmar.
More than 4,000 people have been killed by the junta in the past two and a half years.
:: To contribute to the fundraiser, go to gofundme.com/f/freedom-tattoo-for-burma-aid