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Home / World / Rahaf Alqunun arrives at ‘new home’ in Canada after fleeing family in Saudi Arabia

Rahaf Alqunun arrives at ‘new home’ in Canada after fleeing family in Saudi Arabia



Updated

January 13, 2019 06:25:46

An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family this week said she feared for her life she arrived in Toronto after Canada granted her asylum.

Key points: [19659006] Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called Ms. Alqunun "a very brave Canadian"
  • She fled to Bangkok after renouncing Islam and said she feared for her life
  • A dramatic stalemate occurred while the teenager was barricaded in an airport hotel room
  • Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun drew international attention this week after barricaded himself in a hotel room in a Bangkok airport for not being sent home by his family, which denies any abuse.

    Ms. Alqunun refused to meet her father and her brother, who arrived in Bangkok to try to bring her back to Saudi Arabia.

    He arrived at Toronto-Pearson International Airport on Saturday morning (local time) and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said it was a pleasure to welcome "a very brave Canadian".

    "Rahaf wanted the Canadians to see that she had arrived at her new home," Mrs. Freeland told reporters.

    "But you have had a very long and tiring journey and so you would prefer not to ask questions today, and now you will go to your new home."

    The case of Ms. Alqunun drew global attention to the strict Saudi Arabian policy social rules, including the requirement that women be allowed to travel to a male "guardian", that groups of rights support can trap women and girls as prisoners of abusive families.

    Friday took a Korean Air flight from Bangkok to Seoul and then a connecting flight to Toronto, after arriving in Bangkok a week ago and initially denied entry.

    But she soon started posting messages on Twitter from the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport transit area, saying she was "escaping from Kuwait" and that her life would be in danger if she was forced to return to Saudi Arabia.

    In a few hours, a sip campaign surnamed #SaveRahaf, spread on Twitter by a network of activists.

    After a 48-hour stopover at Bangkok airport, some of which passed barricades in a transit hall hotel, Ms. Alqunun was allowed to enter the country and was turned into a refugee from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    AP / Reuters

    Arguments:

    refugees,

    immigration,

    Islam,

    social-systems,

    gender roles,

    world-politics,

    Canada

    First published

    January 13, 2019 06:14:27


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