Canada Grants Asylum To Saudi Woman Who Fled Her Family – NPR

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun is declared to own boarded a airplane Friday in Bangkok en route to Canada, where she has been granted asylum.

Sakchai Lalit/AP


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Sakchai Lalit/AP

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun is declared to own boarded a airplane Friday in Bangkok en route to Canada, where she has been granted asylum.

Sakchai Lalit/AP

Canada has granted asylum to the 18-year-used Saudi girl who barricaded herself in a Bangkok resort room after escaping what she called abuse and oppression by relatives.

“The UNHCR has made a query of Canada that we catch Ms. Alqunun as a refugee, and we own accredited the U.N.’s question that we grant her asylum,” Top Minister Justin Trudeau suggested newshounds Friday, relating to the build of work of the U.N. Excessive Commissioner for Refugees.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun has boarded a airplane in Bangkok and used to be expected to fly to Canada, Thai immigration police suggested The Associated Press on Friday. Australia had said it used to be serious about whether to give her asylum, but a UNHCR spokesman hinted in an electronic mail to NPR that Ottawa moved extra immediate.

“When referring situations with particular vulnerabilities who need instantaneous resettlement, we join astronomical importance to the rate at which nations think and course of situations,” Babar Baloch wrote.

Alqunun had been on shuttle with her family in Kuwait earlier this month when she ran away and took a flight to Bangkok, NPR reviews. She landed Saturday and deliberate to fly from there to Australia.

In Bangkok, Thai agents stopped Alqunun at the airport and seized her passport. Alqunun hid in a transit lounge resort room and commenced tweeting in Arabic about her pickle.

“I’m the girl who ran away to Thailand. I’m now in staunch bother because the Saudi embassy is attempting to force me to return,” she wrote in her first tweet.

Egyptian-American activist Mona Eltahawy translated the tweets into English, and inner days, Alqunun gathered hundreds of followers.

“I’m now no longer leaving my room till I peep UNHCR [the U.N. refugee agency],” she said in a video assertion. “I favor asylum.”

She said she suffered bodily abuse at the palms of relatives and alleged they’d tried to marry her off in opposition to her will. Alqunun’s family to this point hasn’t commented publicly on the accusations.

Her tweets attracted the admire of the U.N., the Australian authorities and newshounds. The UNHCR granted her refugee station, and Australia’s Division of Home Affairs suggested NPR that Australia would “think this referral [for refugee resettlement] within the identical old formulation, because it does with all UNHCR referrals.”

Alqunun temporarily disabled her Twitter fable due to the demise threats, in step with a friend. It used to be reinstated as of behind Friday, and he or she posted pictures of herself conserving her inexperienced Saudi passport aboard a flight.

“Third country,” she wrote, it looks relating to Canada. “I did it.”

Alqunun’s a hit gambit comes amid renewed consideration on Saudi Arabia’s remedy of girls americans.

Saudi Arabia maintains a male guardianship system. Every Saudi girl is required to own a male relative – corresponding to a father, uncle and even son – who approves valuable existence selections love marriage, work, focus on and plug back and forth. Final year, Saudi Arabia gave girls americans the right to force, but then arrested extra than a dozen girls americans activists who had pushed for the right, NPR’s Deborah Amos reviews.

Alqunun’s case recollects another girl who tried to damage out Saudi Arabia, as NPR’s Sasha Ingber has reported. Dina Ali Lasloom fled from Kuwait to the Philippines in 2017. She, too, archaic social media in a repeat to reach Australia. Instead, she used to be dragged onto a airplane from Manila to Riyadh, her mouth taped shut and her arms and legs slip, in step with The Original York Instances.

Canada’s granting of asylum to Alqunun may perhaps perhaps add to tensions with Saudi Arabia. Riyadh expelled Canada’s ambassador final year and recalled its be pleased high diplomat in Ottawa after Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland criticized the jailing of two Saudi girls americans activists. Saudi Arabia moreover banned extra than 10,000 of its students from returning to highschool in Canada and said its national airline would end flying to Toronto, NPR’s Jackie Northam reviews. Asked whether accepting Alqunun will extra stress that relationship, Trudeau stood firm.

“Canada has been unequivocal that we are going to repeatedly stand up for human rights, and girls americans’s rights across the enviornment,” the high minster said. “Right here is half of a lengthy tradition of Canada taking part constructively and positively within the enviornment and dealing with our partners, allies and with the United Countries.”

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