Who is Rahaf al-Qunun, why is her life in danger?

09 January, 2019, 13:10 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • Saudi Woman Running Away from Family is Now Under UNHCR Protection

The United Nations has deemed a young Saudi woman stuck in Bangkok to be a refugee, referring her case to Australia.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, who arrived in Bangkok, Thailand from Kuwait late Saturday after slipping away from her family, is also asking for help from the United States, Australia and United Kingdom.

Alqunun ran from this oppression, and her bravery means more people are speaking out against the terrifying Saudi regime.

Fleeing them while travelling in Kuwait throws her into conflict of Saudi Arabia's "guardianship" system, which allows male family members to make decisions on behalf of female relatives, she said.

The Saudi embassy in Bangkok said it "did not demand her deportation" and that the case is "a family affair".

But she has said Saudi officials tried to trick her and surrounded the hotel room she had barricaded herself in, planning to force her back home, where she believes her family would try to kill her.

Thai immigration chief Surachate Hakparn conceded that Twitter can "attract the interest of the global community" but denied authorities were swayed by Rahaf's social media barrage. She also noted that her passport had been returned to her after it was confiscated on Sunday.

"The position of two countries on this matter is the same - that the priority is to provide her safety". "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.

"She opened a Twitter account and her followers grew to 45 (thousand) within a day", he complained, his comments filmed and published to Twitter on Tuesday by local journalists. The father had been expected Monday night.

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"The Department of Home Affairs will consider this referral in the usual way, as it does with all UNHCR referrals", a spokesperson said.

On 6 January, Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun - an 18-year-old Saudi Arabian woman - began sending messages on Twitter. "Whether someone holds a visitor visa does not have a bearing on this process".

"It could take several days to process the case and determine the next steps", he said in the statement.

She has also reportedly appealed for asylum from several European countries and Canada.

Al-Qunun has alleged many times that Saudi officials were involved in the seizure of her passport.

But that did not stop Surachate himself from responding to the case on the platform, at one point writing on his official account that "we stand for humanity". "This should be the standard for any individual who claims that his or her life is in danger".

At Bangkok's worldwide airport, security officials stopped her and confiscated her passport, which she said was later returned.

Some female Saudi runaways fleeing abuse by their families have been caught trying to seek asylum overseas in recent years. Alanazi noted that a representative from the Saudi embassy had arrived to the airport to accompany the young woman back as she was considered a youth. She feared for her life if forced to return to Saudi Arabia.

Human Rights Watch Asia division deputy director Phil Robertson questioned a statement by Thailand's immigration chief to the BBC that Alqunun did not have a travel visa for the Asian country, saying she was in transit to Australia when she was detained and did not need a visa, which is available on arrival anyway.


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