Thailand grants reprieve for Rahaf Alqunun as family headed for Bangkok

12 Janvier, 2019, 08:02 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Thailand grants reprieve for Rahaf Alqunun as family headed for Bangkok

"Rahaf's story sends an important message: people around the world rallied to support her plea for protection, and people power prevailed over those who tried to oppress her. Rahaf took incredible risks to flee her family home and break Saudi Arabia's male guardianship rules". She began by boarding a plane by herself to Thailand, but the plan quickly spiraled out of control.

"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.

"Labor has been supportive of the government's moves to consider humanitarian settlement in Australia given she has been found to be owed protection", she said.

On Wednesday, Australia's Home Affairs Department confirmed to INSIDER that the UNHCR had referred al-Qunun to them "for consideration for refugee resettlement".

Earlier Wednesday, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said there will be no "special treatment" for Ms Alqunun and her case would be considered by United Nations referral in the usual way.

In a statement from the government, Ms Alqunun will be subject to Australian checks before she is granted a humanitarian visa, including character and security assessments.

Saudi's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that its embassy in Bangkok was in contact with the father "as it's the Embassy's role to inform him on her situation and the date of her return". On Twitter, she had expressed fear of such a meeting. Go on social media now and watch accounts of so many young Saudis saying, 'Rahaf, you've shown us that we can do this! Several female Saudi runaways fleeing abuse by their families have been caught trying to seek asylum overseas in recent years and returned home.

A regional crossroads for labor and migration, Thailand houses some 106,000 refugees and asylum seekers, according to figures from UNHCR.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun had planned to enter Australia on a tourist visa and seek asylum before she was detained by Thai authorities on Sunday.

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Qunun's father and brother arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday evening and have asked to see her.

Thailand's immigration police chief Lieutenant General Surachate Hakparn told media on Wednesday Ms Alqunun's father and brother arrived together in Bangkok on Tuesday but Ms Alqunun refused to meet them.

The minister said the matter would be resolved "in due course", but said it was up to the 18-year-old if she wanted to apply to come to Australia while her case is determined.

He was held based on a conviction back in Bahrain which he and rights groups said was false and threatened with return despite having refugee status and Australian travel documents. It said the embassy is not communicating with the teenager, but is communicating with Thai authorities.

"My family threatens to kill me for the most trivial things", Al-Qunun told Reuters, describing "physical, emotional and verbal abuse and being imprisoned inside the house for months".

Alqunun's case is similar to that of Dina Ali Lasloom, a young Saudi woman who fled to the Philippines from Kuwait in 2017.

Ms Alqunun later tweeted the video and wrote that her "Twitter account has changed the game against what he wished for me". But who is Rahaf al-Qunun and why is her life in danger? "Please help me." Instead, she was reportedly "dragged onto a plane from Manila to Riyadh with her mouth taped shut and her arms and legs bound".

Qunun told the world of her plight on social media, drawing widespread concern.

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