UN asks Australia to consider Saudi teen for ‘refugee resettlement’

UN asks Australia to consider Saudi teen for ‘refugee resettlement’

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt told ABC TV on January 8 the government had successfully requested the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to process her case quickly.

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.

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

The UNHCR has now assessed her case and found she is a refugee.

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

Baloch noted the power of social media in making her plight a matter that officials could not ignore.

Australia is considering allowing a woman who fled Saudi Arabia to travel to the country after the United Nations confirmed the 18-year old is a legitimate refugee.

In Saudi Arabia, she would not be able to travel overseas without the permission of a male guardian, so Qanun took the opportunity during a family visit to Kuwait and boarded a flight to Bangkok with the intention of reaching Australia.

"The embassy considers this issue a family matter".

She has also said she had a valid visa to enter Australia - where there is mounting pressure on the government to grant her asylum. "And I would have preferred it better if her phone was taken instead of her passport". A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said "the claims made by Ms al-Qunun that she may be harmed if returned to Saudi Arabia are deeply concerning".

"Everybody was watching. When social media works, this is what happens", said Mr Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, of the global outcry.

According to Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch, who has been in close contact with Rahaf, she was fleeing physical abuse by her male relatives, in particular by her father and her brother. She was referred to Australia for resettlement.

"Only she can make that choice, she's an adult woman who can make her own decisions!" "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 soon started posting messages on Twitter from the transit area of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport saying she had "escaped Kuwait" and her life would be in danger if forced to return to Saudi Arabia.

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

Her father and brother arrived in Bangkok yesterday, but Ms Qunun "refused to see" them, according to Thai immigration police chief Surachate Hakparn, who has been caught up in the worldwide firestorm since Qunun's arrival.

Thailand initially said it would deport her at the request of Saudi embassy officials, barring her from travelling on to Australia where Ms Qunun said she had meant to claim asylum.

Friends of Saudi woman Ms Alqunun claim she was nearly forced onto a flight from Thailand back to Kuwait despite seeking asylum in Australia.

In a video of the meeting, Saudi charge d'affaires Abdalelah Mohammed Alshuaibi could be heard telling Thai officials through a translator: "She opened a Twitter account and her followers grew to 45,000 within one day".

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