Karenni People Face Difficulties Obtaining Endorsement Letters for Passports

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Kantarawaddy Times

Despite the junta’s announcement that Karenni people can apply for passports with endorsement letters from either the state administrative office or the regional military headquarters, people in Karenni State are facing significant challenges in obtaining these letters.

“To get a recommendation letter, I first went to the joint administration office in Taunggyi. They sent me to the township administrator. When I went to the township administrator, they sent me to the Eastern Regional Command. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get it when I go there. However, since it’s the military base, I’m afraid to go, so I haven’t gone yet,” said a Karenni resident applying for a passport.

Karenni locals holding national ID cards with “2/” are particularly struggling to get endorsement letters. Some who traveled to the Eastern Regional Military Headquarters for a recommendation letter were also denied for various reasons.

The difficulty of obtaining endorsement letters has led to the emergence of brokers charging 50,000 kyats for their services. However, there is no guarantee of receiving the endorsement letter even when using a broker.

On April 26, the junta announced that those holding “2/” ID cards could apply for passports at the Taunggyi branch office. The application process is online through a QR code appointment system, which needs to be charged beforehand, costing 3,500 kyats.

“It’s easy to submit the QR code and get an appointment quickly. But without the endorsement letter, it’s a waste of money. They won’t refund the money or issue the passport,” said a broker who helps people obtain passports.

Individuals applying for passports themselves often wait for four months, while brokers claim to expedite the process to within a month for 200,000 kyats.

After Operation 1111 in Loikaw, the passport office was closed, making it impossible for locals to apply for passports.

With the economic downturn following Operation 1111, people in Loikaw are eager to work abroad and need passports to do so.

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