Rahaf al-Qunun: Saudi teen granted asylum in Canada

Rahaf al-Qunun: Saudi teen granted asylum in Canada


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Media captionThe #SaveRahaf marketing campaign went viral after Rahaf began tweeting about her plight for asylum

A Saudi lady who fled her household and have become stranded at Bangkok’s essential airport is flying to Canada after being granted asylum standing.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, had been making an attempt to succeed in Australia by way of Bangkok, however was initially informed to return to Kuwait, the place her household had been ready.

She refused to fly again and barricaded herself into her airport lodge room, attracting worldwide consideration.

She stated she had renounced Islam, which is punishable by dying in Saudi Arabia.

The UN’s refugee company has stated it considers her to be a authentic refugee.

Refugee standing is generally granted by governments, however the UNHCR can grant it the place states are “unable or unwilling to take action”, according to its website.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau informed reporters: “Canada has been unequivocal that we’ll all the time arise for human rights and girls’s rights around the globe. When the UN made a request of us that we grant Ms Al-Qunun asylum, we accepted.”

What occurred to Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun?

She was on a visit to Kuwait together with her household, when she fled on a flight to Bangkok.

She stated she supposed to take a connecting flight to Australia – and had an Australian visa – however that her passport was seized by a Saudi diplomat when he met her coming off the flight at Suvarnabhumi airport, leaving her stranded.

A Saudi envoy in Bangkok denied any official Saudi involvement in Ms Mohammed al-Qunun’s detention.

Thai officers initially described her case as a “household downside” and stated she could be repatriated again to Kuwait the subsequent day.

Nevertheless, Ms Mohammed al-Qunun despatched a sequence of tweets pleading for assist from her airport lodge room, and her case was picked up by Human Rights Watch and journalists.

On Wednesday, the UN refugee company stated it thought-about her a authentic refugee. Australia was among the many nations contemplating her case.

‘Threats to her life’

Evaluation by Jonathan Head, BBC south east Asia correspondent

Picture copyright
EPA/THAI IMMIGRATION BUREAU

Picture caption

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, pictured at Bangkok airport earlier this week

After days of hypothesis that she would transfer to Australia, Rahaf al Qunun discovered herself on a flight in the other way, to Canada. She was seen briefly, being escorted to the departure gate by UN officers.

As her aircraft took off Police Basic Surachate Hakparn, the immigration chief whose change of coronary heart on Monday allowed her non permanent asylum in Thailand, informed journalists she had left the nation cheerful and grateful to those that taken care of her right here.

Her father and brother, he stated, who had come on what turned out to be a futile go to to attempt to persuade her to return to Saudi Arabia with them, could be leaving Thailand shortly after her.

It’s only two days because the Australian authorities introduced that it had been approached to take Ms Mohammed al-Qunun, and that it could deal with her request sympathetically. The UN normally approaches just one nation at a time to hunt asylum.

It isn’t clear why the Australian possibility fell by way of, and the UN switched to Canada. It is perhaps that Australia’s robust line in direction of refugees, and the insistence of its Dwelling Affairs Minister Peter Dutton that she would get no particular therapy, threatened to decelerate the processing of her utility.

The UN was involved about her security, following on-line threats to her life, and Canada might have been capable of course of her resettlement extra rapidly.

Why did she flee?

Renunciation of Islam is punishable by dying in Saudi Arabia.

Underneath Saudi Arabia’s “male guardianship system”, a Saudi lady is required to acquire a male family member’s approval to use for a passport, journey outdoors the nation, examine overseas on a authorities scholarship, get married, go away jail, and even exit a shelter for abuse victims.

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun informed the BBC: “I shared my story and my footage on social media and my father is so indignant as a result of I did this… I can not examine and work in my nation, so I need to be free and examine and work as I need.”

She additionally stated she was afraid her household would kill her.

Individually, she informed AFP she had suffered bodily and psychological abuse from her household, together with being locked in her room for six months for reducing her hair.

A spokesperson for her household informed the BBC that they didn’t want to remark and all they cared about was the younger lady’s security.

On Friday, Ms Mohammed al-Qunun wrote on Twitter that she had “some excellent news and a few dangerous information”, earlier than deleting her account. Her associates stated she had obtained dying threats on-line.

Has something like this occurred earlier than?

Sure. Ms Mohammed al-Qunun’s case echoes that of one other Saudi lady who was in transit to Australia in April 2017.

Dina Ali Lasloom, 24, was en route from Kuwait by way of the Philippines however was taken again to Saudi Arabia from Manila airport by her household.

She used a Canadian vacationer’s telephone to ship a message, a video of which was posted to Twitter, saying her household would kill her. Her destiny on arriving again in Saudi Arabia stays unknown.


‘Rahaf is an inspiration’

‘Sara’, a Saudi lady, spoke to BBC OS on the World Service on Wednesday

Rahaf is an inspiration. However she’s not the primary one who did this and undoubtedly not the final one.

What we’re going by way of is terrible. We take into consideration this day by day as a result of us girls right here have no idea what it feels wish to exit. We do not know what freedom tastes like.

Dad retains my passport with him on a regular basis, we go to inns and he places it subsequent to him when he sleeps.

Sadly it is not a revolution. Each lady that’s tweeting about this, it is both that she has already escaped or she’s utilizing a faux account like me. Some folks tweeted me or DMed me to inform me to make use of my actual account, for me to be courageous.

We are not looking for the guardianship any extra. I need to exit of the home and drink espresso from Starbucks. I haven’t got to take my complete household. That is simply manner too harsh on us.

Residing this life is exhausting.




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