Australian minister says Saudi teen will get "very serious consideration"

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

A Saudi citizen who fled her family to seek asylum in Australia reportedly passed a United Nations refugee evaluation which means she can't be sent home. Qunun, a daughter of a senior regional government official, also revealed that Saudi and Kuwaiti officials confiscated her passport upon her arrival. "I'm not going to open the door I want United Nations", one later tweet from her account said.

Those women and the men who are fighting for women's rights activists who are in prison today in Saudi Arabia, they are the leaders - the vanguard of a revolution that will free Saudi women... by ending once and for all the guardianship system which is the foundation of patriarchy in Saudi Arabia... "What's important is get her safe so Australia really needs to move quickly to get her out of Thailand".

"It's extremely concerning if it is the case that the visa has been canceled", she told The Associated Press, adding that Australia should allow Alqunun entry in any case.

In a statement from the Australian government said yesterday, al-Qunun will be subject to Australian checks before she is granted a humanitarian visa, including character and security assessments.

She said she was held after leaving her plane in Bangkok and told she would be sent back to Kuwait.

Since Australia has expressed concern in the past about women's rights in Saudi Arabia, it should "come forward and offer protection for this young woman", Pearson said. Instead, the Kingdom has become known for its susceptibility to pressure from global powers to return high-profile refugees, bowing either to economic imperatives or promises "to reciprocate the favor and...send back Thai political exiles", Giorgetta says.

In 2017, a young Saudi woman Dina Ali Lasloom was forcibly returned to her homeland after she was detained at Manila airport in the Philippines, and has since reportedly disappeared.

The Saudi embassy in Bangkok has rejected any role in the seizure of Qanun's passport.

According to 9 News, the Australian embassy had contacted the Thai government and the UNHCR's Bangkok office to confirm Alqunun could apply for refugee status. "I think my email has been hacked because I can't access the ticket".

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Saudi teen Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun is seen with Thai immigration authorities at a hotel inside Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, on January 7, 2019.

Asylum seekers gain little sympathy from Thai authorities, who are accused of appeasing repressive countries in a diplomatic charm offensive that targets government relations at the expense of human rights.

Meanwhile, Immigration Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn visited Abdalelah Mohammed A Alsheaiby, charge d'affaires of the Saudi embassy in Bangkok, to discuss the case.

"Since Thailand is the 'Land of Smiles, ' of course we won't send someone to their death", he said.

After publicizing her case via social media, saying she feared for her safety if made to return home to her family, she was placed in the care of UNHCR workers as her bid for refugee status was considered, leading to her referral to Australia on Wednesday afternoon. It also entrenches the male guardianship system.

In this January 7, 2019, file photo released by the Immigration Bureau, Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, foreground, walks by Chief of Immigration Police Maj. Rahaf is not the first case.

Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch, said the move by Ms Alqunun's father was concerning.

The social media tsunami appears to have dramatically expedited her case.

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