Burma’s Democracy Leader may lose share in her Residence to non resident brother

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s democracy leader may end up sharing her villa with her estranged brother after a lower court ruling in Rangoon.  On the surface, the ruling seems to be unordinary, but the political significance of the villa as a symbol of Kyi’s leadership is undoubted.  Kyi spent fifteen years under house arrest during the rule of the liberation army which her own father originally founded.  Her rise in political status and endurance throughout her house arrest has been symbolized by many in Burma in the form of the family’s long standing Villa.  It has become a symbol of Kyi’s struggle and perseverance.

Aung San Oo, Kyi’s brother, has traveled and studied abroad and is currently an American citizen, but maintained his claims to half a share in the villa after previously being denied inheritance rights to the dwelling due to his foreign citizenship status (United States).  Burma does not allow foreigners to own property in the country and does not recognize dual citizenship status.  After a recent lower court ruling, Kyi may have to share the home with her estranged brother, a foreigner, should the ruling hold up.  The appeals process will likely run its course and dictate whether or not the lower court ruling will hold, but the case raises interesting international law issues.

Should Burma, as well as other nations, recognize some form of dual citizenship in an increasing interconnected world?  Or should nations be allowed the autonomy to decide for themselves which forms of citizenship they recognize?  Similarly, should non citizens of nations be allowed to own property within those nations?  How about this case: the citizen and political leader of Burma may lose half a share in the property to her estranged brother who is not a citizen of Burma and seemingly not involved in Burma’s government?  Does this make legal sense?

More details can be found in this article.

One comment

  1. Allowing for dual citizenship would certainly make sense in that it opens up the possibility of trade and investment between more countries. However, choosing to acknowledge dual citizenship isn’t a decision that countries take lightly. When someone is a citizen of a country, they are expected to give their allegiance to that country and not work with any foreign governments etc. But, if you’re a citizen of two countries, you would be in the position of having to owe your allegiance and loyalty to two countries at once. This understandably makes some governments nervous. I think each country needs to reconcile for itself, whether or not they feel that allowing for dual citizenship is something that they want to support.

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