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Locked: Saudi teen who fled family leaves Thailand for asylum in Canada

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  • Jan 11th, 2019 10:03 pm
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Dec 13, 2016
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Saudi teen who fled family leaves Thailand for asylum in Canada

I have watched this story unravel in the past week here in Thailand. I am surprised no one mentioned it here yet.

In a nutshell an 18 year old was fed up with abuse in Saudi Arabia. She boarded the plane from Kuwait with a passport and Visa in hand to seek asylum in Australia. On her flight transfer in Bangkok she was stopped by a Saudi scumbag telling her he would arrange a transit visa for her in Thailand. This Saudi person was in a restricted area of the airport and was no doubt facilitated by Thai authorities. She took her passport while Thai immigration said she would be deported as this is a family matter (the same family that threatened to kill her).

The smart girl barricaded herself in a transit hotel asking for UN officials. Fortunately they never took her cell phone (there was a press conference later on in Thailand with a Saudi actually having a nerve to say this). She tweeted and tweeted until UN officials were at her door. Thailand, of course, backed out as the whole world was watching.

I don't know what happened in between, but it seems like she will be going to Canada instead of Australia.

Personally, I am very happy about this. This woman has the courage and brains not many humans have. A definite asset to Canada. She renounced Islam before escaping, so it would be a death sentence for her in Saudi Arabia. ... KKCN1P50QH

Saudi teen who fled family leaves Thailand for asylum in Canada

BANGKOK/TORONTO (Reuters) - An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family saying she feared for her life has been granted asylum in Canada, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, as Thai officials confirmed the teen was en route to Toronto.

Trudeau said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had asked Canada to take in Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, who grabbed international attention this week after she barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room to resist being sent home to her family, which denies any abuse.

“Canada is a country that understands how important it is to stand up for human rights, to stand up for women’s rights around the world, and I can confirm that we have accepted the U.N.’s request,” he told reporters.

The decision is likely to exacerbate Canada’s already poor relations with Saudi Arabia, which last year barred the Canadian ambassador to Riyadh after Ottawa criticized Saudi authorities for detaining women’s’ activists.

Qunun arrived in Bangkok on Saturday and was initially denied entry, but 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.

Following a 48-hour stand-off at Bangkok airport, some of it barricaded in a transit lounge hotel room, she was allowed to enter Thailand and was then processed as a refugee by the UNHCR.

The UNHCR welcomed Canada’s decision and also acknowledged Thailand had given Qunun temporary refuge.

“Ms. al-Qunun’s plight has captured the world’s attention over the past few days, providing a glimpse into the precarious situation of millions of refugees worldwide,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a statement.

Qunun has accused her family of abuse, and has refused to meet her father and brother who arrived in Bangkok to try take her back to Saudi Arabia.

“It was her wish to go to Canada,” Thailand’s immigration chief Surachate Hakparn told reporters. “She still refuses to meet with her father and brother, and they are going to be travelling back tonight as well ... They are disappointed.”

Her case has drawn global attention to Saudi Arabia’s strict social rules, including a requirement that women have the permission of a male “guardian” to travel, which rights groups say can trap women and girls as prisoners of abusive families.

A Korean Air flight carrying Qunun left Bangkok for Seoul on Friday night at 11:37 p.m. local time (1637 GMT), an airport official told Reuters.

Qunun will board a connecting flight to Toronto from Seoul’s Incheon airport. She is expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday morning.

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Trudeau brushed off a question as to whether Canada’s move might make it harder to repair ties with Saudi Arabia.

“Canada has been unequivocal that we will always stand up for human rights and women’s rights around the world,” he said.

Amid increasing domestic political pressure, Trudeau said last month that his Liberal government was looking for a way out of a multibillion-dollar arms deal with Riyadh.

Qunun’s flight has emerged 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.

Canada has repeatedly said Khashoggi’s murder was unacceptable and demanded a full explanation.
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Deal Fanatic
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Oct 1, 2011
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There has been a thread in Politics.
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Dec 13, 2016
2977 posts
mods please close.. my bad