The 18 year old Saudi girl Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun who fled to Thailand to escape from her abusive family was granted asylum in Australia, Thai immigration officials confirmed today.
The immigration police said, “Yes, Australian has granted her asylum, but we are waiting to hear where exactly she is going”.
Canada had also offered Qunun asylum and they were waiting for her decision. The UN refugee agency UNHCR had referred Qunun’s protection request to Australia on Wednesday. Now that Canada has also offered asylum, Qunun has to make a choice.
Qunun is currently staying in an undisclosed location in Bangkok, she would leave Thailand as soon as the final decision is made. Thai authorities have been providing necessary security to her.
Qunun flew to Thailand from Kuwait to escape her family, saying she feared they would kill her because she renounced Islam. She intended to fly to Australia, but she 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.
Qunun drew global attention through a social media campaign launched on Twitter. She documented her arrival and subsequent detention in Bangkok on her smartphone, creating new Twitter and Periscope accounts where she received a plentiful of supportive messages.
After aggressive media campaign Thai authorities allowed her access to the UNHCR and did not deport her to Kuwait. Her story puts questions Saudi Arabia’s guardianship laws.
(The Pigeon Express Opinion – Great move, at least one life save. The Saudi Arabian government needs to investigate on the allegations by the young women and take action against her family. Also Saudi needs to revisit its laws against women. Organisations like United Nations and Human Rights Watch should take cognisance of such multiple human rights violations in the Saudi Arabia and act upon the same. Sanctions or complete boycott, whatever.)