Saudi refugee granted asylum, flying to Canada

Australia Considering Resettlement for Fleeing Saudi Woman

Australia Considering Resettlement for Fleeing Saudi Woman

But late Friday Thailand's immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn said a smiling and cheerful Rahaf was bound for Toronto and had left on a flight after 11pm (1600 GMT). "The question we asked on air "How do you feel about the 18-year-old Saudi woman's decision to leave her family and religion?' was aimed at our listeners who had faced similar dilemmas in their own life regarding family and religion".

UNHCR's office in Canada did not immediately respond to MEE's request for comment on Friday.

The Department of Home Affairs confirmed that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had referred 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun to Australia for consideration for refugee settlement.

The young woman's story made global headlines after she fled alleged abuse from her family to seek asylum, but was stopped at a Bangkok airport by Thai immigration police and denied entry.

However, Ms Qunun sent a series of tweets pleading for help from her airport hotel room, and her case was picked up by Human Rights Watch and journalists. The Thai immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, had told reporters the United Nations was accelerating the case, though he gave no indication of when the process would be complete.

It is only two days since the Australian government announced that it had been approached to take Ms Qunun, and that it would treat her request sympathetically.

Her father travelled to Thailand and denied mistreating her but she refused to see him during his trip.

On Wednesday, the Department of Home Affairs said it would consider Ms Alqunun's "referral in the usual way, as it does with all UNHCR referrals".

"Some in Saudi Arabia will say it is interference in a family matter", he said.

Saudi woman is refugee, Australia must resettle
Alqunun ran from this oppression, and her bravery means more people are speaking out against the terrifying Saudi regime . At about 1am on Monday morning, Ms Qunun posted a video of herself pushing a table to barricade her hotel room door.

She quickly amassed tens of thousands of followers with a #SaveRahaf hashtag that went viral and saw her delivered into the hands of the United Nations refugee agency in lightning speed compared to other asylum cases.

"Canada has been unequivocal that we'll stand up for human rights and women's rights around the world", Trudeau said.

She barricaded herself in a hotel room at Bangkok airport after being stopped by officials and expressed fear that she would be killed if she was forced to return.

The ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia has come under fire since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country's consulate in Istanbul a year ago.

Ms. Payne held talks with Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong, who is also justice minister, and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

Alqunun live-tweeted every stay at the airport, posting videos and constantly updating her followers. Surachate said the father - whose name has not been released - denied physically abusing Alqunun or trying to force her into an arranged marriage, which were among the reasons she gave for her flight.

"We're pleased the UNHCR process concluded so quickly and that Ms Mohammed Al-Qunun has been offered asylum", Shayne Neumann, Labor's immigration and border protection spokesman, said.

Surachate discussed Alqunun's situation on Tuesday with Saudi Charge d'Affaires in Thailand Abdalelah Mohammed A. Alsheaiby.

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