British human rights campaigner refused visa to Myanmar

25 February 2017
British human rights campaigner refused visa to Myanmar
Mark Farmaner, back row, outside the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London. Photo: BCUK

Mark Farmaner, Director of the human rights organisation Burma Campaign UK, has been refused a visa to enter Myanmar by its embassy in Bangkok.
According to Mr Farmaner, he had been on and off the visa ban list a few times since 2004: “I was able to visit in 2004, was placed on visa ban list sometime after, then refused a visa in 2010 after the elections and Aung San Suu Kyi was released. Allowed in April 2012. Refused a visa June 2012. Given a visa October 2012 and my last official visit was in November 2012.”
On both official visits he made in 2012 he met with Aung San Suu Kyi.
“In December last year I applied for a tourist visa at the Embassy in London. I had been given tourist visas in the past even when stating I work at Burma Campaign UK on the application form. This time the application was refused and I was told I needed to apply for a business visa and also state who I am meeting, where I am going, and why.
“On Tuesday I applied for a business visa at the Embassy in Bangkok and it was refused. No reason was given but embassy staff told the agency I went through that I would not be given a visa anywhere,” he told Mizzima.
Mr Farmaner remains adamant the he will still be able to enter the country, stating, “I won’t let the ban stop me. I will visit Burma via neighbouring counties just as I was forced to when Than Shwe and Thein Sein were in charge. I never expected to have to visit this way with Aung San Suu Kyi in charge.”
Anne Roberts, Executive Director with Burma Campaign UK, was, however, issued a visa to enter the country.