Australia considering resettlement for fleeing Saudi woman

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

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

The Australian government is prepared to give the Saudi woman stuck in Bangkok asylum but only if she passes character and security checks and applies for a visa from Thailand, The Australian reports.

Australian officials have strongly hinted that al-Qunun's request would be accepted.

A young Saudi woman is asking for Canada's help after tweets about her efforts to flee abuse and seek asylum overseas put her in the global spotlight.

He said he would talk to the United Nations refugee agency about the potential of a meeting between the family members.

Saudi's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that its embassy in Bangkok was in contact with the father "as it's the Embassy's role to inform him on her situation and the date of her return".

Thai authorities arrested and charged AlAraibi, a Bahraini footballer who has a refugee status in Australia, late past year.

The official did not confirm or deny if the visa had been revoked, but said it would make no difference to her bid to reach Australia.

This handout picture taken and released by Thai Immigration Bureau on January 7, 2019 shows 18-year-old Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed al-Qanun, middle, being escorted by the Thai immigration officer and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees officials at the Suvarnabhumi global airport in Bangkok. "If I go back to Saudi Arabia, I will be dead".

Rahaf Mohammed Mutlaq Alqunun, 18, claims she was abducted and had her passport confiscated by Saudi Arabian diplomatic staff after she arrived at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport on Sunday.

"The government will be making no further comment on this matter". "We are both concerned for Miss Rahaf's safety and well-being", the immigration police chief said.

"If my family come, they will kill me", she said in a video archived on Twitter.

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

On Tuesday she began the process of seeking asylum in a third country through the UN.

"She won't be sent anywhere tonight", Thailand's immigration police chief, Major General Surachate Hakparn, said at a news conference at the airport.

Saudi Arabia enforces male guardianship laws, which require that women, regardless of age, have the consent of a male relative - usually a father or husband - to travel, obtain a passport or marry.

A regional crossroads for labor and migration, Thailand houses some 106,000 refugees and asylum seekers, according to figures from UNHCR. So while on vacation in Kuwait, Alqunun slipped away from her family and tried to fly to Australia through Thailand.

"My family threatens to kill me for the most trivial things", Al-Qunun told Reuters, describing "physical, emotional and verbal abuse and being imprisoned inside the house for months".

"The Australian government is pleased that Ms Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun is having her claim for protection assessed by the UNHCR", a spokesperson told nine.com.au last night.

Women trying to escape abuse by their families have been caught trying to seek asylum overseas in recent years and returned home.

Thai authorities reversed a decision to expel her and allowed Qunun to enter the country under the care of the UNHCR.

Saudi women runaways have increasingly turned to social media to amplify their calls for help.

The latest incident comes against the backdrop of intense scrutiny on Saudi Arabia over the shocking murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi previous year, which has renewed criticism of the kingdom's rights record.