UN refers Saudi teen's claim for asylum to Australia

Teen Locks Herself in Room After Fleeing Allegedly Abusive Family

Rahaf al-Qunun: Dad of Saudi refugee arrives in Bangkok Thailand | Daily Star

But Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun's father and brother would have to wait and see whether the United Nations refugee agency would allow them to see her, immigration chief Surachate Hakpan said.

The story of the 18-year-old Saudi women who fled her family seeking asylum to reclaim her rights has been the talk of the town for the past few days with the trending hashtag 'Save Rahaf' on Twitter.

A United Nations spokesperson told NPR that the refugee agency has had no contact with either family member but that the father and son are communicating with Thai authorities to try to meet with Alqunun.

Who is Rahaf al-Qunun?

"I want asylum", she said.

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".

"What's important is to get her safe, so Australia really needs to move quickly to get her out of here".


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

It said any application by Alqunun for a humanitarian visa would be "carefully considered" once the UNHCR process has concluded. The said both countries had the same aim, the safety of the girl, with the diplomat saying that he was satisfied with Thailand's decisions on the matter.

A young woman who said she had helped Alqunun escape told The Australian Alqunun had opted for the Australian tourist visa because it was one of the few offered online.

The department said it will "consider this referral in the usual way, as it does with all UNHCR referrals". "Recall - adult women [are] not free to travel without [a] guardian's permission", tweeted Human Rights Watch's Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson.

Many asylum seekers are refused entry and quietly deported, while those who make it into Thailand can wait years to be resettled to third countries or find themselves in prolonged detention. The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said in a Tuesday statement that it would look into Alqunun's case "to assess her need for worldwide protection".

"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.


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.

Now her dad has arrived in Bangkok with the wish to "talk to her", Thailand's immigration chief said today.

Alqunun will be subject to a number of checks including character and security assessments to see whether she qualifies for a humanitarian visa, according to the ABC.

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

Saudi Arabia enforces male guardianship laws, which require that women, regardless of age, have the consent of a male relative - usually a father or husband - to travel, obtain a passport or marry.

Its latest statement, which described Qunun's case as a "family affair", said Saudi Arabia did not demand her deportation back home.


Footage released by Thai immigration shows Abdulilah al-Shouaibi, Saudi embassy charge d'affaires in Bangkok, complaining in a meeting yesterday with Mr Surachate that Ms Qunun's phone should have been confiscated.

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