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Saudi woman who fled family granted refugee status
12 January 2019, 08:05 | Glen Norman
ASYLUM Rahaf was allowed into Thailand after fleeing her family
Australia's Home Affairs Department said it would "consider this referral in the usual way, as it does with all UNHCR referrals".
The spokesperson said the government had "serious concerns on this matter and the need for Ms Al-Qunun's claim to be assessed expeditiously".
A young Saudi woman is asking for Canada's help after tweets about her efforts to flee abuse and seek asylum overseas put her in the global spotlight.
"Due to privacy concerns, we can not comment on a specific case without signed consent", said Nancy Caron, a spokeswoman for Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Al-Qunun's plight unfolded on social media, drawing support from around the world, which convinced Thai authorities to back down from sending her back to Saudi Arabia.
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"It would have been better if they had confiscated her mobile instead of her passport".
Australia said on Wednesday it would consider taking in a 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled to Thailand saying she feared her family, which she accused of abuse, would kill her. But who is Rahaf al-Qunun and why is her life in danger?
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun arrived in Bangkok on Saturday, January 5, appealing for asylum and her application was fast tracked for security reasons, partly because of the arrival of her father and brother. "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. "Should Ms Mohammed Alqunun be found to have valid protection claims and entitled to asylum, Labor would be supportive of any government moves to offer her humanitarian settlement", Mr Shorten wrote.
"I want Canada to give me asylum!" she tweeted in the early morning on Tuesday.
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Alqunun's father - a senior Saudi official - and her brother, who she says often physically abused her, are now in Thailand.
Activists are concerned about what Saudi Arabia will do after Thai authorities reversed a decision to expel her and allowed Qunun to enter the country under the care of the UNHCR. Those women and the men who are fighting for women's rights activists who are in prison today in Saudi Arabia, they are the leaders - the vanguard of a revolution that will free Saudi women... by ending once and for all the guardianship system which is the foundation of patriarchy in Saudi Arabia... Describing her case as a "family affair", it said Saudi officials had neither seized her passport - as Alqunun had claimed several times - nor demanded her deportation back home.
Qunun toldReuters via text and audio messages that she had fled Kuwait during a family visit there, and had planned to travel to Australia to seek asylum. Thai immigration authorities have said that al-Qunun was prevented from onward travel to Australia, having been in contact with the "Saudi Arabia embassy to coordinate" this. She says her family thinks of her as a slave, and will kill her for renouncing Islam.
"It has been reported that Rahaf had a Visa to go to Australia, and meant to apply for asylum". Several female Saudis fleeing abuse by their families have been caught trying to seek asylum overseas in recent years and returned home.
Saudi women runaways have increasingly turned to social media to amplify their calls for help.
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