Canada grants asylum to Saudi runaway teen fleeing allegedly abusive family

Canada grants asylum to Saudi runaway teen fleeing allegedly abusive family

Payne was in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on Thursday after the Australian government and the country's Department of Home Affairs said they would consider giving asylum to Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, the Saudi girl.

"The unique thing about this case is that she had access to social media, and was able to report on it and bring the world's attention to her plight", said Pearson.

Online protest is a tactic long championed by women in Saudi Arabia.

The human rights group Amnesty International said yesterday it welcomed the decision by UNHCR to grant refugee status to the teenage Saudi runaway.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters: "Canada has been unequivocal that we will always stand up for human rights and women's rights around the world".

Canada also offered asylum, the officer was quoted as saying, and was awaiting Qunun's decision.

Jean-Nicolas Beuze, UNHCR's representative in Canada, also told CBC News that he couldn't provide any information at this stage "for protection reasons".

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees eventually granted her refugee status on Wednesday.

Ms.al-Qunun's case was dealt with on a fast-track "emergency" basis in light of the urgency of her situation.

She was on a trip to Kuwait with her family, when she fled on a flight to Bangkok.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne speaks to the press at the Australian embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, January 10, 2019.

A Saudi envoy in Bangkok denied any official Saudi involvement in Ms Qunun's detention.

Thai authorities had initially threatened to deport her after she arrived in Bangkok from Kuwait last weekend. Human rights activists say many such cases have gone unreported.

Hakparn said that when she departed, she had a "smiling face".

If accepted, she would have a gateway to Australian citizenship. She was seen briefly, being escorted to the departure gate by United Nations officials. She later told reporters that Australia is assessing Alqunun's request for resettlement but there was no specific timeframe. He was traveling to the Southeast Asian country for his honeymoon when he was stopped.

It wasn't immediately clear what prompted Alqunon to choose Canada over Australia. The two men planned to return to Saudi Arabia early Saturday, he said. One requires that women get permission from a male "guardian" to travel. She said she feared her family, which she accused of abuse, would kill her.

Pearson said Qunun had made it to safety through her own courage and perseverance.

"She needs to be protected from those who want to murder her, and should promptly be given asylum in Australia", the commentary said.

Has anything like this happened before?

Another Saudi woman, Dina Lasloom, flew to the Philippines in 2017 while trying to escape Saudi Arabia.

Taking in a Saudi refugee comes as diplomatic tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia remain tense after several months of strained relations.

Alqunun deactivated her Twitter account Friday.

Rahaf is an inspiration.

What we are going through is bad.

In some countries, her adult age would have prevented the authorities from telling her family anything about her. We don't know what freedom tastes like.

"Go on social media now and watch accounts of so many young Saudis saying "Rahaf, you've shown us that we can do this".

Living this life is exhausting.

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