techkenyot.com
techkenyot.com January 15, 2019


Saudi teen granted Canada asylum: Thai authorities

11 January 2019, 10:48 | Glen Norman

Rahaf Mohammed Al Qunun is currently in the care of United Nations

Rahaf Mohammed Al Qunun is currently in the care of United Nations officials

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the Saudi asylum seeker, who barricaded herself inside a Bangkok hotel room, is on her way to Canada.

Ms Alqunun arrived in Bangkok on a flight from Kuwait on Saturday and planned to continue to Australia, for which she held a tourist visa.

Canberra has insisted it will treat the case of 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun "in the usual way, as it does with all" refugee cases referred by the United Nations.

The case has highlighted the cause of women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

Activists have called on Thai authorities to "show humanity" to Alaraibi in the same way that they had to Qunun.

Payne has also worked to raise more attention around another case.

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But armed with a phone, she barricaded herself into an airside hotel room and fought back - live-tweeting her fears of deportation in a campaign that swiftly galvanised global support and prompted a sharp U-turn by Thai officials.

Today though, Ms Alqunun's Twitter account appeared to have been deleted.

Ms Qunun's desperate tweets ricocheted across social media with the #SaveRahaf hashtag drawing an outpouring of support but also the bile of some hardliners in her native country. Bahrain is seeking his extradition.

The country's government yesterday said it would consider her application if one was lodged by the UNHCR. "She'll leave tonight at 11:15 p.m.", which is 11:15 a.m. ET. "Refugee protection today is often under threat and can not always be assured, but in this instance worldwide refugee law and overriding values of humanity have prevailed". She later told reporters that Australia was assessing Al-Qunun's request for resettlement.

Australia had dropped strong hints it would resettle her after the United Nations urged the country to accept her.

When asked if bringing al-Qunun to Canada could further inflame tensions with Saudi Arabia, Trudeau would only say Canada is standing up for human rights. The teenager feared the presence of her father and brother in Thailand posed a new risk to her plan to escape her family to a different country.

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Alqunun arrived in Bangkok on a flight from Kuwait over the weekend, saying her family subjected her to physical and psychological abuse.

Qunun's Twitter account was no longer active on Friday.

On Friday afternoon she posted a final cryptic tweet on her profile saying "I have some good news and some bad news" - shortly after her account was deactivated in response to death threats she had faced, her friends said.

Alqunun had previously said on Twitter that she wished to seek refuge in Australia. Alqunun claims her life would be in grave danger if she were returned to Saudi Arabia and her family would kill her.

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun boarded a Korean Air flight from Bangkok to Seoul late on Friday night before catching a connecting flight to Canada, Thailand's immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn says.

Payne's visit will also put a spotlight on another refugee case, involving a Bahrain footballer Hakeem AlAraibi, who has refugee status in Australia but was arrested at Bangkok airport previous year after arriving for his honeymoon.

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