Sunday, 16 June, 2019

Australia asked by United Nations to resettle Saudi Arabian teen

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun ASYLUM Rahaf was allowed into Thailand after fleeing her family
Deanna Wagner | 12 January, 2019, 08:04

Australia said it would consider an application for protection, although media reported that Ms Alqunun's visa for onward travel to the country had been cancelled - although there was no official confirmation.

Elaine Pearson, the Australian director of Human Rights Watch, said that Australia should come to Al-qunun's defense on moral grounds.

Saudi teenager Rahaf Alqunun's first reaction to the news Australia might resettle her was disbelief, then emojis.

He said he would talk to the United Nations refugee agency about the potential of a meeting between the family members.

In a Twitter update on Wednesday, Ms al-Qunun thanked her 107,000 followers for their "support in my hard psychological situation" and said that she had "regained my strength" after a dramatic few days.

Rahaf Mohammed Al-Qunun in Bangkok. Once, she said, her family locked her up in a room for half a year because she cut her hair in a style they disliked.

A Saudi woman who fled her family to avoid forced marriage and refused to leave a Bangkok airport hotel room to avoid deportation was granted refugee status on Wednesday by the United Nations, her friends and supporters said, clearing the way for an asylum request.

Wednesday's development marks a significant victory for Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, who is now in Bangkok, after evading her family and traveling alone from Kuwait on Saturday.

"The government will be making no further comment on this matter". "We have no idea what he is going to do. whether he will try to find out where she is and go harass her", Robertson said.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said "the claims made by Ms al-Qunun that she may be harmed if returned to Saudi Arabia are deeply concerning".

Canberra to decide Saudi's fate after United Nations refugee ruling
Al-Araibi's case is being considered by Thailand's justice system, she said. She had said on social media she was afraid of such an encounter.

Ms Alqunun later tweeted the video and wrote that her "Twitter account has changed the game against what he wished for me".

Since Saturday Ms al-Qunun has been tweeting about her circumstance, with her case highlighting the issue of women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

In 2017, Dina Lasloom triggered an online firestorm when she was stopped en route to Australia where she planned to seek asylum.

Thailand's immigration police chief, Major General Surachate Hakparn, told reporters today that Saudi diplomats told him they are satisfied with how her case had been handled. Public pressure prompted Thai officials to return her passport and let her temporarily stay in Thailand.

Lawmakers and activists in Australia and Britain urged their governments to grant asylum to al-Qunun, who was finally allowed by Thailand to enter the country yesterday.

But a government source told The Australian the visa had not been revoked.

"It has been reported that Rahaf had a Visa to go to Australia, and meant to apply for asylum".

The Saudi government has denied claims it sent officials to bring Ms Alqunun back to the kingdom.

In some cases, Saudi authorities were involved in forcing women to return to their families and in other cases, local authorities suspected the women of seeking asylum and deported them, the activist said. She soon started posting messages on Twitter from the transit area of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport saying she had "escaped Kuwait" and her life would be in danger if forced to return to Saudi Arabia.

It comes at a time when Riyadh is facing unusually intense scrutiny from its Western allies over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October and over the humanitarian consequences of its war in Yemen.