Canada grants asylum to Saudi runaway teen fleeing allegedly abusive family

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne will be meeting senior officials in Thailand

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne will be meeting senior officials's case was dealt with on a fast-track "emergency" basis in light of the urgency of her situation.

The fast-moving developments capped an eventful week for Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun.

But after being detained by Thai authorities, she refused to board a flight back to Kuwait, barricading herself in a hotel room.

Teenager had pulled her Twitter account over "threats" earlier on Friday. "You are the spark that would motivate me to be a better person".

Human rights campaigners say many similar cases have gone unreported.

Payne was in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on Thursday after the Australian government and the country's Department of Home Affairs said they would consider giving asylum to Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, the Saudi girl.

"Canada has been unequivocal that we will always stand up for human rights and women's rights around the world", he said.

Though her asylum case has moved at lightning speed the mystery over which country will accept Rahaf remains.

The UN's refugee agency has ruled Saudi woman Rahaf Al-Qunun is a refugee.


Thai authorities eventually allowed her to enter the country on Monday evening and the United Nations refugee agency referred Rahaf to Australia for consideration for refugee resettlement.

Australia was among the countries also considering resettling the woman, as that's where she was headed when she arrived in Bangkok on a flight from Kuwait on Saturday.

UNHCR officials were not immediately available for comment.

Payne said in a statement that she would raise the case of the 25-year-old with the Thai government to find ways for his safe return to Australia. She said she feared her family, which she accused of abuse, would kill her. "Not sure when she will resume", tweeted Phil Roberston, Asia director of Human Rights Watch and called on Twitter to shut down those accounts.

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Qunun was trying to reach Australia to seek asylum there but was stopped by Saudi and Kuwaiti immigration officials during transit at the Bangkok airport.

She refused to fly back and barricaded herself into her airport hotel room, attracting worldwide attention. He said Ms Alqunun's father wanted his daughter back but respected her decision.

"He has 10 children".

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".

The decision is likely to exacerbate Canada's already poor relations with Saudi Arabia, which previous year barred the Canadian ambassador to Riyadh after Ottawa criticized Saudi authorities for detaining women's' activists.

In August, Saudi Arabia expelled Canada's ambassador to the kingdom and withdrew its own ambassador after Canada's Foreign Ministry tweeted support for women's right activists who had been arrested.

"3rd country", she wrote, apparently referring to Canada.

"We have nothing new to add on this right now", said a spokesman for Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, but a source told The Globe and Mail that she was headed to Canada.

"It is not going to help the Canada-Saudi relationship but it is absolutely the right thing to do".

Multiple supporters, including journalist Sophie McNeill, who has been in contact with Alqunun during her ordeal, said on Twitter that she was fine but had received death threats.

Australia had said on Wednesday that it was considering taking in Qunun.

A Saudi woman has been given refugee status by the United Nations and is being considered for resettlement by the Australian government.

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