Evening Standard

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun: Saudi teenager arrives in Canada after being granted asylum

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 12/01/2019 17:33:00
a boy wearing a hat and smiling at the camera © Provided by Local News RSS EN-GB

Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun has arrived in Canada after being stranded in Bangkok Airport.

The 18-year-old was granted asylum by Canada after she claimed she feared that she would be killed by her family.

Ms Al-Qunun was stopped at Bangkok airport on Saturday by Thai immigration police who denied her entry and seized her passport.

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The 18-year-old barricaded herself in an airport hotel room, launching a social media campaign via Twitter and drawing global attention to her case. 

Chrystia Freeland et al. posing for the camera: Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun (centre) is welcomed by Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland (AFP/Getty Images) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media LimitedSaudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun (centre) is welcomed by Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland (AFP/Getty Images)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would accept Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun as a refugee.

"Canada has been unequivocal," Mr Trudeau said. "We will always stand up for human rights and women's rights around the world."  

The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees welcomed Canada's decision.

a couple of people posing for the camera: al-Qunun , the 18-year old Saudi woman who fled her family to seek asylum, has since arrived in Canada (AP) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limitedal-Qunun , the 18-year old Saudi woman who fled her family to seek asylum, has since arrived in Canada (AP)

"The quick actions over the past week of the government of Thailand in providing temporary refuge and facilitating refugee status determination by UNHCR, and of the government of Canada in offering emergency resettlement to Ms. Alqunun and arranging her travel were key to the successful resolution of this case," the agency said in a statement.

Ms Qunun's case has highlighted the cause of women's rights in Saudi Arabia, where women's freedoms are severely restricted under the country's guardianship laws.

Several female Saudis fleeing abuse by their families have been caught trying to seek asylum abroad in recent years and returned home.

Gallery: Women's rights in Saudi Arabia (Photos)

Human rights activists say many similar cases have gone unreported.

12. tammikuuta 2019 19:33:00 Categories: Evening Standard

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