Saudi woman fleeing her family granted refugee status by UN

The Australian government is considering hosting Rahaf Mohamed al-Qunun, the young Saudi who fled her family and locked herself in a hotel at the Bangkok airport, at the request of UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, on Wednesday. Australian Ministry of the Interior.

“UNHCR has sent Rahaf Mohamed al-Qunun to Australia to consider his reception as a refugee.” The Ministry of the Interior will study this request in the usual way, as it does with all UNHCR proposals, “explains the ministry. a brief statement. “The government will not comment further on this matter,” he adds. Australian official sources cited by the BBC suggest that the request will be accepted.

UNHCR, which is in charge of the girl in the Thai capital, has not confirmed for the moment that she has granted refugee status to Al-Qunun, who claims that in Saudi Arabia her family harassed her, threatened to kill her and wanted to force her into a marriage concerted.

The girl fled from her family last week during a trip to Kuwait (a country that does allow women to travel without a male guardian) and flew alone to Thailand, from where she intended to take a plane to Australia to seek asylum. But when they arrived at the Bangkok airport, the immigration authorities of the Southeast Asian country stopped her.

The young woman says that an employee of the Kuwait Airways airline confiscated her passport and informed her that, at the request of the Saudi Arabian Embassy, she was going to be forced to board a flight back to Kuwait on Monday, where her relatives were waiting for her.

The young woman then decided to barricade herself in the room of a transit hotel at the Bangkok airport. Open an account on Twitter and he published his first tweet last Sunday, followed by other texts and videos. His story went viral and has 108,000 followers.

Finally, the Saudi was left in charge of Acnur and was granted temporary entry into Thailand. Her father and brother have traveled to Bangkok, but she has refused to see them. Her case has attracted international attention because of Saudi Arabia’s strict rules, including the requirement that women have permission from a male relative to travel.

The case also comes at a time when Saudi authorities face international criticism for the murder of Saudi journalist critic Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October.