Australia: Saudi teen 'granted asylum in Australia' - PressFrom - Australia

AustraliaSaudi teen 'granted asylum in Australia'

12:55  11 january  2019
12:55  11 january  2019 Source:

Saudi woman seeking asylum in Australia remains in hotel, despite bid to deport her

Saudi woman seeking asylum in Australia remains in hotel, despite bid to deport her The flight that was to have removed a distressed Saudi teenager attempting to seek asylum in Australia has left Bangkok airport without her. How To Get A Home Loan With 5% Deposit Find out more on Finder Ad Kuwait Airlines flight 412 took passengers on board and left without 18-year-old Rahaf Alqunun, who was detained in Thailand yesterday. Ms Alqunun flew from Kuwait and said she had a ticket onwards to Australia where she had hoped to seek asylum over fears her family would kill her for renouncing Islam.

The 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled to Thailand to escape her allegedly abusive family has been granted asylum in Australia, according to a Thai immigration official.

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun garnered worldwide attention after she began tweeting from Bangkok airport last weekend, saying her life was in danger if she were forced to return to Saudi Arabia.

"Yes, Australia has granted her asylum, but we are waiting to hear where exactly she is going," immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn confirmed to CNN today.

Asylum 'likely' for Saudi teen in Thailand

Asylum 'likely' for Saudi teen in Thailand Immigration Minister David Coleman is "very likely" to grant an 18-year-old Saudi woman asylum only if she passes all security checks, The Australian reports.

The Department of Home Affairs is yet to confirm the reports.

Mr Hakparn said Canada had also offered Ms Alqunun asylum and they were waiting for her decision.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR had referred Ms Alqunun's protection request to Australia on Wednesday, though it had not been confirmed before now that Canada was also considering her case.

Mr Hakparn said Ms Alqunun, who is staying in an undisclosed location in Bangkok, would be leaving Thailand "almost as soon as the final decision is made".

"We are providing necessary security for her," he said.

Ms Alqunun had flown to Thailand from Kuwait to escape her family, saying she feared they would kill her because she renounced Islam.

She intended to fly on to Australia, but barricaded herself in a hotel room in Bangkok's main airport on Sunday after Thai immigration officials attempted to deport her back to the Middle East.

Saudi teen Rahaf Alqunun's claim for asylum referred to Australia for consideration

Saudi teen Rahaf Alqunun's claim for asylum referred to Australia for consideration The UN refugee agency has referred the case of a Saudi woman claiming asylum to Australia for consideration. Rahaf Alqunun, 18, was stopped by Saudi officials in Thailand on her way to Australia. She barricaded herself in a hotel room at a Bangkok airport, saying she risked being killed by her family if she was deported back to Saudi Arabia. The UNHCR has assessed her case and found she is a refugee. In a statement, the Department of Home Affairs says it will consider the referral from the UN in the usual way.

Ms Alqunun and her supporters drew global attention to her case through a social media campaign launched mostly on Twitter.

She documented her arrival and subsequent detention in Bangkok on her smartphone, creating new Twitter and Periscope accounts where she received a deluge of supportive messages.

Her story has also put Saudi Arabia's guardianship laws, which restrict many aspects of women's lives, back under international scrutiny.

In response to the media campaign Thai authorities allowed her access to the UNHCR and did not deport her to Kuwait.

Her online campaign was so successful that Saudi official Abdalelah Mohammed A. al-Shuaibi told Thai officials through a translator: "We wish they had confiscated her phone instead of her passport."

Ms Alqunun later tweeted the video of that meeting and wrote that her "Twitter account has changed the game against what he wished for me".

Australia weighs Saudi woman's refugee bid

Australia weighs Saudi woman's refugee bid Australia is weighing up whether to give 18-year-old Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun refugee status after the UN decided her claims for asylum were valid.

Today though, Ms Alqunun's Twitter account appeared to have been deleted.

Ms Alqunun's case is unusual because of the speedy offer of resettlement.

It is not an automatic right for refugees and less than 1 percent of registered refugees globally are resettled each year, according to the UNHCR.

Refugees can wait their whole lives for a third country to accept them.

The process is often assessed on the urgency of a refugee's individual needs, with the most vulnerable prioritised.

Refugees can wait from nine months to several years to hear an answer - longer if they appeal a refusal.

On Wednesday, the Department of Home Affairs said it would consider Ms Alqunun's "referral in the usual way, as it does with all UNHCR referrals."

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton also said there would be no "special treatment" in the case.

"Nobody wants to see a young girl in distress and she has obviously now found a safe haven in Thailand," Dutton told reporters in Brisbane.

Shortly after hearing about Ms Alqunun's plight, Australia said that it would "carefully consider" granting her a humanitarian protection visa, if she applied for one.

Such a visa would allow Ms Alqunun to stay permanently in Australia and have the right to work and study.

She would also be able to propose or sponsor family members for permanent residence.

Saudi teen granted asylum in Canada enjoys a glass of red wine and bacon as she continues to enjoy her new freedoms.
Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed captured global attention last week after she barricaded herself in an airport hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand.

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