One step closer to Australia for Saudi teen Rahaf Alqunun

One step closer to Australia for Saudi teen Rahaf Alqunun

Qunun said she planned to seek asylum in Australia, fearing she would be killed if repatriated by Thai immigration officials who stopped her at the airport.

Her father, a Saudi government official, and brother landed in the capital last night and immediately asked to see Ms Alqunun. She began by boarding a plane by herself to Thailand, but the plan quickly spiraled out of control.

Qunun said she had been planning to seek asylum in Australia but was stopped by Thai immigration officials upon her landing on Sunday, reports Agence France-Presse. In a video clip of the meeting released by Thai immigration police, Alsheaiby is heard telling Thai officials: "From the moment she arrived, she opened a new account and her followers reached nearly 45,000 in a day".

She is now staying at an undisclosed location in the Thai capital Bangkok while the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) processes her request. It said: "I am the girl who escaped Kuwait to Thailand".

But denied entry on arrival at Bangkok's main airport this weekend she took to Twitter with an account apparently created as a crisis response route and managed by her and supporters.

The Department of Home Affairs said in a statement that it will consider the referral from the U.N.in the usual way, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (the ABC) reported.

He said both countries were treating the issue as a private family matter and looking for a solution together, adding the UNHCR's processes would take five days.

Qunun has documented her bid to flee her allegedly abusive family with minute-by-minute social media updates.

"Because this is a high profile case and because she has a lot of support from the global community, I think it is very possible that this could end very quickly", said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. It declined to comment further.

The department relies on referrals from organizations such as the UN's refugee agency to decide who can be resettled in Canada.


In Bangkok, Thailand's immigration police chief Maj.

Australian media reported earlier that officials are ready to issue a humanitarian visa to Rahaf if the United Nations rules that she is in need of worldwide protection.

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.

The Australian director of Human Rights Watch Australia, Elaine Pearson, said the extraordinary circumstances around Qunun's case should be taken into account.

"The father is now here in Thailand and that's a source of concern".

"We have no idea what he is going to do. whether he will try to find out where she is and go harass her". He said it was "too early to tell" if she will be granted asylum or refugee status. She's accused her family abusing of psychologically and physically abusing her.

"Yesterday, they [social media supporters] made the difference in Rahaf's life", she said. She told the world defiantly: "I'm real and exist".

Video footage posted on Twitter by a Saudi human rights activist appeared to show a Saudi official complaining that Thai authorities should have confiscated Qunun's smartphone.

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

"I am scared. My brother told me that he's waiting with some Saudi men".

Related Articles